1 Corinthians 11:1 (ESV): Be imitators of me, as I am of Christ.
This is a pretty confident statement from Paul. Would I be able to say the same thing to a new believer?
I’ve been studying the idea of discipleship quite a bit lately. Disciples of Jesus are those who want to become more conformed to his perfect image through his teachings and his examples, and ones who will then pass these teachings on to others.
We know that we are called to be like Jesus. Hebrews 12:14 (ESV) instructs believers to strive “for the holiness without which no one will see the Lord.” Disciples have accepted Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior and have chosen to pursue a life of holiness, a life modeled completely after that of Jesus.
So while it is always best to point people to Jesus as the ultimate example of what they should strive for in their lives, I should seek to be a consistent, practical example for those people of what that looks like. This is the path of the disciple. Become more like Jesus AND help others do the same.
I think that is what Paul is saying to the Corinthians: “Look, your goal is to be like Jesus, and God’s Word tells you what that means. So certainly study the Word and pray for understanding. In addition, you can look at my life as an example of someone just like you who is earnestly seeking to be like him.”
So, can I confidently say the same thing as Paul to a new believer? That is a good question to ask oneself regularly, answer honestly, and make any necessary adjustments accordingly.