This term I’ll be teaching a seminary class called Live Like Jesus. It is what we call a spiritual formation class. In other words, the class is more spiritually oriented instead of academically oriented (not that these two are mutually exclusive).
I’ve had to ponder the name of this class ever since I accepted the invitation to teach it. There were actually two classes that I could have chosen to teach: either Live Like Jesus or Preach Like Jesus. Pastor Ed asked me which one I wanted to teach. I responded, “I don’t think I’m qualified to teach either.” I felt kind of like it was a choice between teaching Raise the Dead 101 or Introduction to Walking on Water. After all, who really lives like Jesus? Who really preaches like him?
Paul said something to the Corinthians that leaves me divinely disturbed:
Follow my example, as I follow the example of Christ.
–1st Corinthians 11:1
How could a man who described himself as the “worst” of sinners (1 Timothy 1:15) ask people to follow him? I think I have part of the answer: Paul took full responsibility for his own spiritual life. He knew he was not perfect and he knew he never would be. He also knew, however, that he pursued God with all of his might. Paul did not use his past (or sin in general) as an excuse for a substandard spiritual walk. Consider his words to the Philippians:
Brothers, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.
I have come to this conclusion about the Christian life: A life which is not worth imitating is a life not worth living. Whether I like it or not, I am “living like Jesus” for those students who look up to me—I am the only example that some of them have.
You are also living like Jesus for someone (perhaps for many). Follow Him closely so that you will be a godly example—an example worth following.
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