Imitators and Modelers
“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. And so you became a model to all the believers in Macedonia and Achaia.” – 1 Thessalonians 1:6-7
Who is your hero?
Who do you try to imitate in life?
We all have people we look up to, people who we try to emulate in our lives or at least in some aspect of our lives. Jesus is the ultimate person to look up to.
How do we imitate Jesus in our lives?
There are several ways we can imitate Jesus.
- Pray regularly
- Be humble
- Proclaim the Kingdom of God to unbelievers
- Teach others about God
There is one other way we may imitate Jesus that we may not have thought about…and may not like very much. No, it’s not turning water into wine at parties or walking on water (though that would be cool).
It’s through suffering.
The members of the church in Thessalonica were experiencing great suffering for their faith. Yet, they experienced that suffering with joy. They understood that the Gospel was worth their suffering, both for themselves and so others could hear about Jesus.
Jesus knows suffering. Jesus’ ministry was marked repeatedly by suffering. He was mocked, ridiculed, harassed, and plotted against by the people He came to save, no less. Ultimately, He was falsely accused, tried, and found guilty. He was beaten and spit upon and had a crown of thorns shoved onto His head. Then He was nailed to a cross where He continued to suffer and die.
The church at Thessalonica, like many others at that time and even still today, imitated Christ in His suffering and modeled humility, patience, and even joy, like Christ, in their suffering.
They shined the light of Christ through their suffering.
Sometimes we can feel like we are being punished when we suffer, but the truth is that, sometimes, it is in our suffering that we shine the brightest. When we go through hardship, especially for the sake of Christ, people see that. It’s like a light in a dark place.
That witness can change lives just like Christ’s suffering changed our lives.
May I be more and more like You every day. If that means suffering, help me to suffer with humility, patience, and joy, imitating You that Your light might shine into the lives of those around me.
In Christ’s Service,