“Follow my example, as I follow the example of Christ”
–The Apostle Paul (1 Cor 11:1)
This verse has always seemed rather daunting to me.
When I worked with teenagers at our church, the youth pastor encouraged us to live our lives so that we could make the above claim to the students.
I understood what he meant, but it still seemed like a lot of pressure.
I don’t think Paul’s purpose in this verse is to heap guilt on those who fall. Nor should it become a claim of pride or arrogance for those who seem to “have it all together.”
Instead, I think it serves to remind us that our lives are always being watched.
That has never been more clear to me than it is now that I’m a parent. There are little eyes always watching, little ears always listening, and little hands always wanting to do what they’ve seen done. And believe me, if I mess up, they are sure to notice.
Be careful little feet where you go
For it’s the little feet behind you that are sure to follow
(from the song, Slow Fade, by Casting Crowns)
That’s more pressure than any one person needs.
Or maybe not.
Maybe instead of pressure, it’s potential.
Potential to show them what it is to love God with your whole heart. To make difficult decisions because it’s the right thing to do. To love others, even when it’s not easy. To show forgiveness, even when you’ve been wronged. To live and give sacrificially. To receive grace when we fail and extend it to others when they fail us.
Don’t think that if you’re not a parent, you’re off the hook. Paul wasn’t writing a parenting course. He was writing a letter to Christians.
There are people in your life–co-workers, friends, family members–who are watching what you do, what you say, how you handle life situations. They are silently observing your life. What are they seeing?
I pray that no matter who looks at my life….my kids, my neighbors, my friends…they will notice something different. And even when I don’t do it perfectly, they will say, “She follows Christ.”
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