1 Thessalonians verse 6 starts with an interesting phrase “you became imitators of us and of the Lord.”
Now it would not surprise anyone to see it mentioned that the Thessalonians became imitators of the Lord. That is surely something to which we all should be aiming. However Paul also says they became imitators of them too. It might be that some would think Paul was being arrogant in using that expression. Surely he should just say they became imitators of the Lord?
Interestingly he also says something similar in the first letter to the Corinthians in the following two verses:
- Therefore I urge you to imitate me. (4:16)
- Follow my example, as I follow the example of Christ. (11:1)
Paul in his writings certainly comes across as a man who loved, obeyed and served Christ wholeheartedly. He was striving to follow Christ in every circumstance and situation he faced. Therefore by living this way I would argue that he was a good person to learn from and imitate in what it means to live the Christian faith. The Thessalonians certainly thought he was.
So who do we try to imitate? Do we try to imitate our church leaders or maybe another mature Christian? Or are we easily influenced by those who behaviour is not compatible with Christian faith?
Whether we like to admit it or not we are all influenced by others and imitate their ways in some form in our life. It is sometimes said of people that they got in with the wrong crowd when they do bad things. We need to be very careful who we imitate.
Would we recommend that others became imitators of us? Is my life a good example for other believers to imitate? Or am I too worldly in the way that I live that I would not recommend that others imitate me?