Therefore I urge you to imitate me. For this reason I am sending to you Timothy, my son whom I love, who is faithful in the Lord. He will remind you of my way of life in Christ Jesus, which agrees with what I teach everywhere in every church. 1 Cor 4:16
Paul wrote a letter to the church he founded in Corinth warning them that it is God and not man that judges. The Corinths were so impressed with personalities that had come through in the church, they started taking sides. He affirms that he and Apollos are mere servants and guardians. Paul brings the focus back to Christ, and ends the chapter with the statement in v. 20 saying “For the kingdom of God is not a matter of talk but of power.”
Imagine Kobe Bryant telling me to jump and shoot a basket in an NBA finals game as he would. Or perhaps Iron Chef Bobby Flay summoning me, “go to the kitchen stadium! and do as I did.”
The Apostle Paul told the Corinthians to imitate him. He was an extraordinary believer that took chances for the sake of the gospel, was beaten, tortured and imprisoned. I know I love God, but I question my ability to do and be all the apostle had been. What a tall order from the Apostle Paul! His deep love and devotion for our Savior compelled him to obey without hesitation. When it comes down to it, yes, I want to be like Paul when I grow up. And as a follower of Christ, I need to rely on the Holy Spirit as he did. I can imitate Paul, Timothy, my brothers and sisters in Christ who have set themselves apart for God. Their faith is leading in the path so I can be Christlike.
On the other hand, someone comes along for me to mentor. A neighbor, a friend, a daughter or a son. Can I confidently bid that person to imitate me as I handle my own sufferings and trials? Is my life of integrity that is worthy copying? How do I treat the poor? How do I serve when no one is looking? Consequently, there are bystanders who are figuring me out discretely. It may be a new believer or someone who is not even sure if he wants to be a follower of Christ. I shake in fear, I am humbled. What could they imitate from me?
I will stumble along as I follow those before me, but I desire wisdom and a deeper revelation of you. Help me to recognize the Godly qualities in others that you want me to emulate. Fill me Holy Spirit, may my life be worthy of imitating. As believers we are bombarded daily with the choices of who to be like. Give us the power to choose you, God, all the time.