Paul makes an amazing statement in 1 Corinthians 11:1. He says, Follow my example, as I follow the example of Christ.
I love that verse. It has become my lofty goal of fatherhood to try and live in such a way that I can say those words to my kids and that they will mean something. Lord forgive me for how often I fall short! But the thought of living my life in such a way that my example would be something to follow; a legacy......something about that stirs my heart. I want be able to say "Follow my example." How can I earn that right? By following the example of Christ.
For most of my years I've heard pastors, parents and Sunday school teachers telling me that I should follow the example Christ. Be Christlike. What would Jesus do? Be an imitator of Christ. And truthfully that didn't make a lot sense to me. I mean Jesus was God right? Of course He got an A, He wrote the questions to the test! Isn't that kind of cheating?
But I had my theology wrong. The Bible teaches that Jesus was fully God and He was fully man. But here is the part I missed. In His humility, he took on humanity as a man and actually set the God part aside. Doesn't that change the perspective?
Everything Jesus did was to demonstrate for us what it looks like to have a true faith, a real relationship with the Father. He was walking with God as a man. Really!
Do you know what that means? Isn't that great news! Jesus didn't cheat on the test, he was showing us the kind of life that is available if we really believe. We really can follow the example of Christ!
Jesus was approachable. He was kind, generous, flexible, selfless, self controlled. He was fierce, and fiercly devoted to his cause. He knew who he was. He was caring, He was the epitomy of love. He was holy, he was rightous. He was a man's man. He got angry, he was strong, he drove demons out of people and sent them packing in fear. He was tender. He had a sense of humor. He could relate with anyone. He lived with integrity. He was totally free from any kind of bondgage or addiction. Nothing had a hold on him. He was free. He didn't seek praise or glory or get a big head when people were literally ripping the roofs off of houses to get near him. He was genuine. He was the truest person you will ever meet. He did not boast, he did not shrink back. He was himself. And he gave everything he had.
Don't you want to be like Him? I do. We really can live the life of Christ. It really is available. It doesn't roll in on a platter for $29.95 like prime rib though. It is a process. It starts with discovering God as Father, then trusting in him. There is a dismantling process, then restoration and then a thousand small choices everyday. Maybe I should say a thousand small battles every day.
But each day we commit to giving our lives over to Christ to live his life, each day we make a concious decision to not give our hearts over to anything but God, each day we live a whole and holy life....well that is a day to be celebrated because we have just cleared a little more of the trail that will help our kids find their way through this rugged wilderness. And then we can echo Paul in saying, "Follow me as I follow the example of Christ."
Happy Fathers Day!