1Corinthians 11:1, “Be ye followers of me, even as I also am of Christ”, KJV
If you are anything like me, then you have someone or some people who inspire you especially in the spiritual arenas (our spiritual leaders). Joshua had a spiritual leader Moses, so was Elisha who had Elijah, Timothy had a Paul etc.
In his writing to the Corinthians, Paul opens with this line in chapter 11:1, “Be ye followers (imitators) of me, even as I also am of Christ”. Why did he not say “follow Christ as I follow Him”, because Paul knew to follow Christ meant laying it all on the line.
He had learnt to pick up his cross and follow Christ daily. He had been a living example to many who might have not thought it possible to lay it all on the line and be like Christ. In Philippians 3:8, he says, “Yet indeed I also count all things loss for the excellence of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them as rubbish, that I may gain Christ”. By the standards of the world before his conversion, Paul had it all, meeting Christ on his way to Damascus to persecute Christians altered and changed his life forever. He had not walked with Christ physically like the other disciples but to imitate Christ, he was going to have a taste of what it meant to walk with Him.
Paul’s life was not an easy road, having been stoned and left to die, survived shipwreck, had been beaten, jailed, rejected, yet in all this he was fulfilled because Christ did not have it easy in this world and still accomplished His mission. Paul being a bond servant of the Lord saw himself finishing his mission through Christ who he imitated and gave him strength (Philippians 4:13). Something about Christ propelled Paul to ride out what had made many men give up. Something about Christ fascinated him that he tells us of his desire in Philippians 3:10, “that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death”. You would think that Paul desiring to imitate Christ was for him to be successful in this life, have a lot of money, have respect and be happy. It turns out that his desire was to operate in the power that resurrected Christ, 1Corinthians 2:4, “And my speech and my preaching were not with persuasive words of human wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power”, “…And the fellowship of his suffering”, Paul had a taste of what it meant to suffer for Christ.“…Being conformed to His death”. As Christ died for the purpose of redeeming sinners, so Paul had that same purpose in a lesser sense; he lived and would willingly die to reach sinners with the gospel. His life and death, though not redemptive, were for the same purpose as his Lord’s. In imitating Christ, Paul made himself of no reputation, he was a bondservant, humbled and was willing to suffer for Christ. I believe with all my heart that in his hard times, he would have not cried, “Jesus bring me OUT of this” his prayer would have been, “Jesus bring me THROUGH this”. To bring us out is to escape, to bring us through is to endure.
By saying, “be ye followers of me, even as I also am of Christ”, Paul is not suggesting to us that he counted himself something; he is teaching us what it means to follow Christ because he was a living proof. He was also glad that the Corinthians had received his teachings, however he wanted to make it clear that He was not the head, that he was not making it by his own strength or his own teachings. This is why he pointed them back to his reason for being who he was. He tells them in vs. 3,“But I want you to know that the head of every man is Christ,..”
Our spiritual leaders ought to point us back to the head, Christ and their lives should be an imitation of Christ in every way. If that is not the case, then one should change course. Their lives ought to be an example to us that despite how tough it is to pick up the cross and follow Christ, if they are making it through Christ who strengthens them, we too can make it through Christ who strengthens us. If we have other people who look up to us as spiritual leaders then like Paul let us strive to imitate Christ in every aspect of our lives. Paul had a desire to imitate Christ and also NOT fail Christ by leading the followers of Jesus a stray. What about you? Blessings Ev
- It Is About The Cross, by Evans Olang (magnifyhisword.wordpress.com)
- It’s All Been Paid For, Evans Olang (magnifyhisword.wordpress.com)
- Power To Overcome, Evans Olang (magnifyhisword.wordpress.com)
- Be Lifted Up, by Evans Olang (magnifyhisword.wordpress.com)