I’m Stuck on This Copycat Thing . . .

I know. I know. I know.
I’ve been rambling on about imitating Christ for the past few weeks.
But I can’t help it.
It’s where I am.
It’s what God is teaching me.
And I want to share it with you.

I’m still stuck on the apostle Paul.
We already looked at what he said in 1 Corinthians 4:16:
“I urge you to imitate me.”

Let’s also look at what he said in 1 Corinthians 11:1:
“Follow my example, as I follow the example of Christ” (NIV).

And in Acts 20, Paul encouraged the new believers to
emulate him,
to watch him,
to listen to him,
to be like him.

Could it be that Paul knew something we’ve forgotten?
That we’re not simply called to speak the gospel—
but that we ARE the gospel!

Even though Paul was tortured,
shipwrecked,
misunderstood
and jailed,
he was living in the kingdom of God.

His eyes weren’t focused on his situation.
He looked past the pain
the discomfort
the hatred . . .
and focused instead on simply being Jesus.
And acting on earth as he would act in heaven.
He was living in the kingdom of God—
while he was on earth.

Father, help me to live in Your kingdom
right here
right now
regardless of what I’m experiencing.

Help me to imitate You.
Help me to live the kingdom life—
on earth.

Oh, Paul!

At first I found myself in awe of the apostle Paul
as he said, “I urge you to imitate me” (1 Corinthians 4:16).

But I have to admit . . . later, I began to feel frustrated with him.
I mean, after all, Paul wasn’t perfect.

After his conversion, he determined to the “the great voice”
to the Jews. But they hated him. And almost every time they
heard him preach, they tried to kill him. The disciples had to
pack Paul in a basket and lower him by ropes over the city wall
at midnight just to keep him safe.

But Paul kept preaching to the Jews.
And he kept getting death threats.
And being persecuted.
And causing all kinds of division.

Finally, the disciples said, “Hey, Paul. We know God has called
you to preach. And that’s exciting. And we know He’ll use you.
But He’s just not using you here. I mean, can’t you see it?
It’s obvious that God has something else for you.
This isn’t working! Please leave and wait for God’s direction on
your ministry.”

The disciples said that!
It’s kind of funny.
It was like Paul just kept banging his head against the wall:
“This SHOULD work. It CAN work. It HAS to work.
I’m the right person for this job!”

But it wasn’t working!

If Paul could have only seen into the future:
If he could have known THEN that God would use him to bring
the Gospel to the Gentiles . . . and that he would write most of
the New Testament . . . that his ministry would be talked about,
read about and preached about for centuries . . .

Maybe it would have been easier to stop what he was doing
and move on. And wait for God’s direction. For God’s open door.
For the new ministry God wanted to give him.

After leaving the disciples and spending about a decade making
tents and waiting for God’s direction, Paul finally realized his ministry was to the Gentiles. And look what God did through Him!

Two things stand out to me:

  1. Paul wasn’t perfect. But he WAS so united with Christ, that he was able to say, “Imitate me.” God would use the Holy Spirit to seal up the cracks . . . so that when people DID watch Paul’s life, what the Holy Spirit allowed them to see was Paul’s obedient side.
  2. When God tries to shut down something we’re involved in, why do we often keep trying to force it to work?

Let’s ask God to:

  • help us live in such intimacy with Him that we’re able to say,
    “Imitate me,” because I’m copying Christ.
  • give us discernment to know when to move on and trust Him
    to open a new door.

    Thoughts?

Serious About Copycat!

Would you ever tell someone to
watch your lifestyle and imitate
all that you do?

Think about it:
Your words.
What you watch on TV.
How you spend your money.
Your reactions.
How you vote.
What you choose to fight for.
Your reading material.
What you post on social media.
Every part of your life . . .
being imitated by others!

That’s exactly what the apostle Paul
told the Corinthians to do.

Check it out:
“I urge you to imitate me”
(1 Corinthians 4:16 NIV).

I URGE you?
Isn’t this a bit arrogant?
Ephesians 5:1 tells us to imitate God!
Paul tells us to imitate him.

Do you get it?
Paul lived in such union with God
that imitating Paul would be like imitating God.

Oh. My. Goodness.

As sold-out disciples—
people who are living in radical obedience
to the Lordship of Jesus Christ—
shouldn’t we be able to say the same thing?

What if we could say this to our teens:
“Hey, I know life is tough. I realize you’re trying
to follow Christ . . . that you don’t understand
all the Bible is telling you . . . you’re still navigating
your way through Christianity and you’re wobbling.
So to make it easier, just copy me. Can you do that?
I’ll live the life of Christ right in front of you, OK?
Though you don’t understand all of Christianity yet,
just keep watching me and imitate everything I say and do,
because I’m imitating God. So as you copy me, you’ll actually
be copying God Himself.”

Oh. My. Goodness.

THAT’s what Paul was saying.
Why aren’t we saying the same thing?
Is it because we’re not living in radical obedience to Christ?

I don’t know about you . . .
but I want to be a godly role model.

I want to be like Christ.
So . . . in His strength . . . I’m not going to be “one more Christian”
who falls.
In His strength . . . I’m not going to be “one more Christian”
who causes others to question their faith.

When I’m on vacation—and no one knows who I am
or what I do—I’m not going to release words from my mouth
that I normally wouldn’t.

I’m not going to order a drink when no one’s watching.
I’m not going to pick up a cigarette and take a few puffs.
I’m not going to enter a place of entertainment that I don’t
usually frequent.

Because if I did, I’d be saying, “Imitate me when I’m in public and
when I’m at my best. But when I’m alone, don’t watch.”

What would happen if we could be parents, teachers, pastors,
role models, disciples who can say with ease,
“I URGE you to imitate me”?

All the time.

Will you join me in this goal?

Copycat!

I loved playing copycat when I was a little girl.
I’d mimic and repeat everything a friend said until I drove her nuts.
Not many people enjoyed my game.

 

Now that I’m older (I’m 92 now) . . .
(OK, not really. I just wanted to make sure you were still reading!)
Now that I’m older, I find myself yearning to copycat Someone else.
And He loves it!

 

Ephesians 5:1 says, “Be imitators of God.”
Though I often fall very short, I deeply yearn to copycat my heavenly Father.

 

I want to be like Him.
Act like Him.
Smell like Him.
Make choices like Him.
Respond like Him.

 

I’m discovering that the more time I spend with Him,
the more His Spirit works within me to mold me
shape me
remake me
and define me
in Him.

 

What would it be like to be defined by Christ?
Think about it: Michael Jordan = basketball.
Tiger Woods = golf.
Serena Williams = tennis.
(Your name) ____________ = Jesus.

 

Wow.
That’s my desire, Lord.
Thank You for never giving up on me.
Please keep working, re-working and breaking me
until I look like You.
Amen.
How do you see God working in your life to make you more like Him?

 

How’s your imitation coming?
Go ahead.
Play copycat with your Father!

The Master has Big Dreams…

Have you ever felt unworthy—as though God can’t use you?

If so, you can relate to Matthew.

He was in a less-than-idea vocation, but Christ saw his potential.

He knew what Matthew could become.

Christ sees the possibilities in you as well.

He dreams big for you.

 

When the Master Artist invites you inside the canvas, it’s for eternity.

 

(From Susie’s latest book Masterpiece. Don’t buy it from Amazon. Susie sells it cheaper. Email her for info on how to get it directly from her: susieshell@comcast.net)