Join together in following my example, brothers and sisters, and just as you have us as a model, keep your eyes on those who live as we do.
I was watching an old “I Love Lucy” episode and laughing at one of the many times Lucy meant well but messed everything up. While I was laughing, I noticed that my three-year-old daughter was also laughing. Only she wasn’t watching the TV; she was watching me. When I laughed, she laughed. It was a moment that really struck me as a parent because I realized that my daughter was learning a lot from my behavior. She was imitating me.
So, whom are you imitating? Chances are, it is whomever you are watching.
Are you watching those who are loving or unloving? Kind or unkind? Generous or selfish? Arrogant or humble?
The apostle Paul encouraged the church in Philippi to follow his example and to keep their eyes on “those who live as we do.” In other words, he wanted them to watch people who live in a God-pleasing way. God wants us to do the same. It’s important to keep our eyes on and give attention to those godly examples and models he has placed into our lives, and then to be that example for others. In doing so, we encourage and build one another up that we all may live God-pleasing lives.
Of course, none of the people we look at and imitate is perfect. That’s why, most importantly, we need to be reading about Jesus in the Bible. Jesus lived a perfectly God-pleasing life. Not just as an example for us (although he certainly is that!), but as a substitute for us. He gives us credit for his perfect life so that we can one day enter the perfect paradise of heaven.
Until then, we want to thank him by living in a way that is pleasing to him. And, watching the godly people he has placed in our lives can be a great help in doing so.
Gracious God, I praise you for the many godly examples you have given me in the pages of the Bible and in my life. Help me to imitate those who look to you. Amen.