17 Join together in following my example, brothers and sisters, and just as you have us as a model, keep your eyes on those who live as we do. 18 For, as I have often told you before and now tell you again even with tears, many live as enemies of the cross of Christ. 19 Their destiny is destruction, their god is their stomach, and their glory is in their shame. Their mind is set on earthly things. 20 But our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ, 21 who, by the power that enables him to bring everything under his control, will transform our lowly bodies so that they will be like his glorious body. 4 Therefore, my brothers and sisters, you whom I love and long for, my joy and crown, stand firm in the Lord in this way, dear friends!
As the mother of a toddler, I have become well aware of how carefully I am being watched and mimicked at all times! Small children have such a knack for modelling our example, copying our language, habits and mannerisms. It has made me so conscious of what I say and how I act, because my child is learning from me at all times and is establishing her understanding of how people relate and how the world works. I am the person she spends the most time with, which currently makes me the most influential person in her life. Sometimes I really feel the pressure of being an example 24/7, and I know that sadly, I don’t get it right all the time.
Yet as I read this passage, I am so encouraged by verse 17, where Paul writes to his fellow Christians to join together in following His (Jesus’) example. Paul knows that as a leader, others are modelling their behaviour from himself, however Paul is following Christ as the ultimate example! When we look to Jesus, when we live as citizens of Heaven, we know that we are empowered and shown how to love and live like Jesus did. I am encouraged to continue to stay in God’s word, to immerse myself in Jesus so that He is the greatest influence in my life. It is only by following Jesus that I can help others to live as He did.
Jesus, thank you that you are the ultimate example for how we should live, speak and think. Help me Lord to follow you first and foremost. Mould my heart that my life would reflect you so that I could lead others to follow your example as well. Amen.