“Ye became followers of us, and of the Lord… so that ye were ensamples…” (1 Thessalonians 1:6-7).
How strange, we might think, that Paul would commend Christians for imitating himself! “You followed us,” Paul says, “And that’s a good thing.”
It’s true that Paul is essentially saying “imitate me as I imitate Christ.” That’s why he adds “followers of us, and of the Lord.” In other words, this imitation of himself is related to/dependent on his imitation of Christ.
But there’s no escaping the striking implication that Paul is not only pointing Christians to Christ, in order that they be like Christ, but also inviting them to imitate himself in order that they be like Christ! And Paul is not saying he only is to be imitated, but all godly leaders, all godly Christians.
Imitation, then, is clearly a vital part of Christian sanctification and discipleship!
Do you want to have a better prayer life? Sit down with a prayer warrior and a pad and pen, and start asking questions. Do you want to learn how to make time for personal devotions? Find the best and busiest Christian you know, and ask them how they fit it all in. Do you want to know how to handle your struggles with anxiety, lust, finances, marriage, parenting? Start watching, asking, learning from other Christians around you.
This is one of the purposes for which Christ has given us the church!