I am not writing this to make you ashamed, but to admonish you as my beloved children. For though you might have ten thousand guardians in Christ, you do not have many fathers. Indeed, in Christ Jesus I became your father through the gospel. I appeal to you, then, be imitators of me. For this reason I sent you Timothy, who is my beloved and faithful child in the Lord, to remind you of my ways in Christ Jesus, as I teach them everywhere in every church. But some of you, thinking that I am not coming to you, have become arrogant. But I will come to you soon, if the Lord wills, and I will find out not the talk of these arrogant people but their power. For the kingdom of God depends not on talk but on power. What would you prefer? Am I to come to you with a stick, or with love in a spirit of gentleness?
Growing up, we may have (or have had) someone in our lives to whom we look up, someone we aspire to be like, someone who we respect and want to base our own lives on. For some it will be a parent or guardian, for others it will be a teacher, a youth leader or a Minister, for example. Alternatively, there may be several people involved. For me, family, teachers, Boys’ Brigade Officers and Ministers all played their part. Paul called upon the Corinthians to imitate him. Having started the Church in Corinth, he saw himself as a ‘Father’ figure and was trying to unify the people by assuring them that he had their best interests at heart. Paul walked close to God, spent time in His Word and in prayer and, as a result, was aware of God’s constant presence in his life. God was Paul’s inspiration, the person he looked up to. Paul wanted others to imitate these aspects of his life, this Christian living. Paul may have been writing as long ago as A.D.55 but we could do worse than follow his example even today. Living as God would want us to, not just talking about it, has stood the test of time as a way of life. To know what God wants us to do in serving Him, we need to stay close to Him, following Paul’s example of reading Scripture and spending time in Prayer, in conversation with Him and, very importantly, live our lives in such a way that His light shines through to those we encounter in our daily lives.
Lord God, Thank You for all those who guide us through life, especially those whose guidance is inspired by You. Help us to listen, to discern what is right and then to act as You would have us do as an example to all around us. Help us to constantly focus on You, both through Scripture and Prayer. In Jesus’ name. Amen!
Jeff Newall, Lay Preacher, Christ the Vine Community Church, Coffee Hall, Milton Keynes
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