It is a simple, eight-word statement by the apostle Paul, but it sounds bold, brash, and arrogant to our ears:
“Therefore I exhort you, be imitators of me.” (1 Cor 4:16)
Yet there is a sound biblical reason Paul offers this command: he was given to them by God as their earthly spiritual father to lead them into the truth of the gospel. Instead of the word “father,” we might use the words mentor, discipler, or teacher, but the sense is the same. Paul is given to them to equip and train them in godliness. And as he adds in later in this same letter, as long as he follows Christ, they are to follow him (11:1).
In other words, it is fitting to have someone to whom you look to give you guidance and direction as you work your way through the course of the spiritual life.
In a related post this morning,
Following leaders and having godly heroes is a good thing. More than that, it’s a necessary thing. But, the Bible tells us why these people are to be our heroes. After all, the examples set out for us in Hebrews 11 are to show us the faith of these men and women. Hebrews 13:7 states, “Remember those who led you, who spoke the word of God to you; and considering the result of their conduct, imitate their faith”. It can be tempting to read a Christian biography and to remember the fantastic stories that took place in the lives of Charles Spurgeon and William Carey, and we should remember these amazing examples of God’s faithfulness, but the writers of the Scriptures point us to the faith of the saints that went before us. We don’t follow a man for his success but because of his faithfulness to the Lord.
Here are two suggestions I have for young men who want to follow the faith of a spiritual giant:
- Follow YOUR Leader.…
- Follow DEAD Leaders.
Read the rest at The Cripplegate.