When I was a little boy, I had a hero – my brother-in-law – who had just married one of my much older sisters. He was, and still is, a real gem of a guy. My grandmother was aware of my veneration for this new addition to our family, and like the great matriarch that she was, she took him aside one day and said, “That little boy idolizes you, so you’d better watch everything you say and do in front of him.” I know my brother-in-law is a sinner theologically speaking, but I can’t quite picture it actually happening! I wanted to grow up to be like him. I didn’t quite make it… I could never be that nice of a person.
Did you have a hero when you were growing up? It is rather quite common to look up to someone and wish to be like him or her.
Paul said to the readers of the first letter to the Corinthians, “Follow my example, as I follow the example of Christ” (11:1). He told the Ephesians, “Be imitators of God, therefore, as dearly loved children and live a life of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God” (5:1-2). The word for “imitators” is the same word from which we derive “mimic” in English. Look to God and mimic what you see. But, you can’t see God! True! But you can gain a picture of Jesus Christ that is quite detailed. He is the exact representation of God (Colossians 1:15). He is the visible explanation of God (“explanation / made known” is the word from which we derive “exegesis”… which is a detailed examination and explanation of the meaning of something)… John 1:18 – “No one has ever seen God, but God the One and Only, who is at the Father’s side, has made him known.”
How well do you follow the example of Jesus Christ and walk in His footsteps? Do you do it well enough that someone else may see it in you and make you a part of the pattern for their walk? You do have influence. Others do look at you. There will be people, probably in younger generations than you, who will look to you and walk as you do. Will they look like Christ?
PHP 3:7 But whatever was to my profit I now consider loss for the sake of Christ. 8 What is more, I consider everything a loss compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them rubbish, that I may gain Christ 9 and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ–the righteousness that comes from God and is by faith. 10 I want to know Christ and the power of his resurrection and the fellowship of sharing in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, 11 and so, somehow, to attain to the resurrection from the dead… PHP 3:17 Join with others in following my example, brothers, and take note of those who live according to the pattern we gave you.