by Kathy Collard Miller
Have you ever found yourself thinking, “I’ll make sure I’m never bad like her.” Or “I want to be good like her.” We all have and it may seem like a really good thing to focus on avoiding the mistakes of some and emulating the good points of others. Even the Apostle Paul wrote to his friends in Philippi, Brothers, join in imitating me, and keep your eyes on those who walk according to the example you have in us (3:17).
But if we read his words earlier in that chapter, he says, Not that I have already obtained this or am already perfect, but I press on to make it my own, because Christ Jesus has made me his own. Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it my own. But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus (Philippians 3:12-14).
Paul isn’t saying “be like me” so much as he’s saying be like how I’m like Jesus. Paul acknowledges he is imperfect and still on a spiritual journey himself.
When we point others to be like Jesus as we are learning to be like Jesus (to whatever extent) we are lifting up the greatness of Christ. We are never supposed to idolize a friend as the example, only how they reflect Christ.
Other people will always fail us. To put our satisfaction in being like them is surely like building our house on sand ... near the waves ... as a hurricane approaches. A very saddening comment I hear is, “Well, my pastor failed me and now I don’t go to church.” Such an attitude reveals they put their focus on someone who was never meant to be their example. When we are disappointed by others, our objective wasn’t to be like Jesus.
Of course, there’s nothing wrong with gaining wisdom from another believer or noticing characteristics in them you need to improve in. But what is our motive? If we think being like them will give us the contentment we need, we aren’t acknowledging our perfect model Jesus as our source of goodness. We want to give others a correct opinion about who Jesus is, not another Christian.
Kathy Collard Miller is an award-winning author of over 50 books that include Christian living topics, women’s Bible studies, and Bible commentaries. She is a speaker who has shared in 8 foreign countries and over 30 US states. Kathy and Larry have been married for 47 years and are the parents of 2 and grandparents of 2. They live in Southern California and often write and speak together. Visit her at www.KathyCollardMiller.com. She would love to hear from you.
This guest blog is adapted from Pure-Hearted: The Blessings of Living Out God’s Glory
Order Pure-Hearted at: http://amzn.to/2jzYdWi