By Kelly Carr
When my daughter was the tender age of 3, she was in a particularly cuddly mood. After sitting in my lap and giving me a big hug, she looked deeply into my eyes and stated, “I’m losing my mind!”
My burst of laughter stemmed from the fact that I know where she’d heard that phrase—from me. Oh yes, little eyes and ears take in more than we realize, and they imitate us, whether we like it or not.
My daughter turns 8 years old this week. I am quite aware that she is readily forming opinions and behaviors that she will build upon in the years to come. Am I demonstrating the qualities of a godly woman that I want her to imitate? I hope so. Some days are better than others. I pray that she sees my ultimate desire to follow Jesus.
A Bold Suggestion
It’s humbling to be imitated. On one hand, it has been said that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. But on the other hand, this puts pressure on the one being imitated. When someone mirrors our actions, will we like what we see?
That’s why Paul’s words in 1 Corinthians 4:15, 16 seem brave to me: “For in Christ Jesus I became your father through the gospel. Therefore I urge you to imitate me.”
Paul’s mentorship of the church in Corinth is pictured as a family relationship. He was willing to be their spiritual guide and asked them to imitate him. Why? Because he committed to imitate Jesus, and he was giving the Corinthians an earthly example to follow.
When Paul stated this, he was making himself accountable. Not only did he have his own spiritual growth on his shoulders, but he had a group of believers to lead as well. His imitation of Christ needed to be sincere and ongoing—for his sake and theirs.
I get the feeling that Paul wasn’t nervous to take on his mentoring role. He knew he didn’t have to be perfect to be an example. He was willing to be imitated when he was passionately serving Jesus, and he was willing to be imitated when he failed and sought God’s forgiveness. People need to learn how to humbly serve and how to start again after stumbling. Paul openly shared both scenarios in his life.
A Godly Example
Karen Ward Robertson takes on the topic of mentorship in this issue of The Lookout (page 8). Though she writes specifically about women, her thoughts can apply to every Christian.
Who has been an example for you to imitate on your spiritual journey? Take time this week to say thank you to that person with a phone call, an email, or a card in the mail.
Then consider—who is watching you? Your neighbors, coworkers, family members, and church family see what you say and do. Do you feel good about what they observe?
As Paul demonstrated, being a godly role model is important, and it doesn’t have to be intimidating. We are already being viewed by others—let’s make sure what they see is the love of Jesus they’ll want to
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