Gardendale Nazarene

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Be Imitators! | Pastor's Blog | Gardendale Nazarene

Be Imitators!

I know it has been a while since I have sent out an email (actually, it has been about 9 months!). I needed a little break, but it my hope to begin sending out emails again. I know that we are entering the busiest time of year, and if you are like me, having a little event reminder is very helpful. I'd like to give you a thought heading into the weekend and our last two Sundays in our series on Kindness.

Three times in Paul's letters, he writes something odd to our ears:
  • 1 Corinthians 4:16- I urge you, then, be imitators of me.
  • 1 Corinthians 11:1- Be imitators of me, as I am of Christ.
  • Philippians 3:17- Brothers, join in imitating me, and keep your eyes on those who walk according to the example you have in us.

It seems odd that Paul would call these churches to imitate him. Was Paul being prideful or self-centered? I don't believe so. I think Paul had come to an understanding about his relationship to Christ.

If there is a verse that has caught my heart in the past six months, it is Galatians 2:20, "I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me."

This verse has become central in my understanding of Paul's writing and his understanding of his relationship with Christ. Thus, I believe it must become central to our understanding of our relationship with Christ.

Galatians 2:20 is Paul's testimony that he has become so conformed to the crucified Christ, that Christ lives in him. Paul is not pointing to himself, he is pointing to Christ. Every fiber of his being is bound to his Savior. We are made in God's image and the Father ministers to the Son and has complete union with His Son. The Father and Son are also in complete union with the Spirit.

It is in our dying with Christ that we are resurrected (like Paul) to new life in Christ. Part of the beauty of Paul's testimony is that Paul is converted from a murderous raider to a minister of the Gospel.

It is no different for you and me. We too, through the cross, are given new life. This new life is not to be wasted, but in our weakness to minister as Christ has ministered to us. It is in this ministering that we can proclaim with Paul, "It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me!"

May we see ourselves as our Lord sees us, as His ministers who are alive in Him!