You became imitators of us and of the Lord, for you welcomed the message in the midst of severe suffering with the joy given by the Holy Spirit. 1 Thessalonians 1:6
In his opening remarks, Paul recognizes and celebrates the Christians life and progress of faith, hope and love. Verse 3, “We remember before our God and Father your work produced by faith, your labor prompted by love, and your endurance inspired by hope in our Lord Jesus Christ.”
It is this kind of inner (heart/faith) quality and demonstrated (work/labor) life, Paul acknowledges. These characteristics are what Paul and the spiritual leaders possess, live by and exemplify, thus imitating the Lord.
What’s very convincing and inspiring is the backdrop of suffering Christians experienced, yet welcoming the message with joy. The source of their joy is the Holy Spirit (v6).
The taste of imitation crab is absolutely appalling compared to consuming fresh, authentic, Alaskan King Crab meat! (* moderation cause I know this food group is high in cholesterol! Just had to say…:)
My life, testimony, witness…is not a fake, imitation of Jesus! Thank You Jesus! My soul is filled with a gratefulness and affirming presence of God – that by the Holy Spirit, I am an imitator of Jesus – not an imitation of Jesus!
How awful a feeling that would be – to not be real, genuine in motive, thought and life. Not that I’m perfect in this, but my heart feels sooooooo thankful for the authentic work of His Spirit in me, guiding me to be an imitator of God. I’m no imitation of Christ – Thank You Jesus…Amen! 🙂
But I want to always keep in mind this question.
- What areas of my life do I need to better imitate the Lord?
Like Paul, I want to be an example so others people would want to imitate my life. I want to be a husband, father, servant, pastor, leader – that others can imitate.
- What characteristics do I have that people would want to imitate?
The radical conditions of suffering, can make, break, define or refine me. I’m so impassioned to live for Jesus – by the Holy Spirit. Having just done a funeral celebration for Hollie Morales, who suffered much…I’m convicted to “give more of myself”, more of my life…if not all… to live for Him. I want to. I say I want to. Am I really willing to suffer for His sake – let alone be an IMITATOR OF JESUS while I’m suffering?
Spirit of God! Please help deepen my commitment, love, calling…to God the Father and Jesus!
HELP JESUS! …and as I think about “me” – THANKS for Hollie’s life…be with Jason and the ‘ohana! O God…the joy, endurance, love, passion … in the midst of suffering she exemplified is astounding beyond my comprehension. Yet all honor and praise goes to You…as her family, friends testified of Your greatness…even in the face of her death.
So God – may I imitate You, by the power of Your Spirit…with joy, even through my minuscule trials! Help me to imitate You, Your character and heart. May I be a man of God, others can imitate. And wherever there are IMITATION top motives or issues within me…show me, so I can REPENT!
I was honored to officiate Jason and Hollie’s wedding in 2004. Hollie battled cancer, which eventually affected her bones. One of her legs was amputated in 2013. She lived on with a prosthesis, back to exercise, working…never giving up. Cancer entered her brain late 2015.
I wore my “Everyday I Fight” Tapout shirt in honor of her. Hollie enjoyed working out, exercising and living well as a wife, mother and grandmother…and friend to all! Her physical body “tapped out” but she stayed “tapped in” to Jesus her source and foundation of life! She is alive forever in the presence of God!