This past Sunday I preached on the topic of imitating Christ. It really bugged me last week as I prepared for it. Mainly, it made me think of all my interests and pursuits through the years. Many of those interests and pursuits have been ministry related - some not. The part that has bugged me is that I can not honestly say that I have always pursued Christ as vigorously as I have other things in my life - even good ministry things.
If we are to truly be Christ's disciples, we MUST imitate Him. That is not an abstract thing. We must imitate Him in His beliefs. We must imitate His character. We must imitate His ministry. We must imitate His way in relationships. And I could go on. The demand on us to imitate Him is not negotiable. Paul made the charge plain in 1 Corinthians 11:1 "Imitate me just as I also imitate Christ."
Do we pursue Him as much as fine gold? Silver? Ok - money? Do we pursue Him as much as we do a great hunting spot? Do we pursue Him as much as a fine buck? Do we pursue Him as much as we do a great shopping expedition? Do we pursue Him as much as fine clothes? Do we pursue Him as much as we pursue position? Power? Possessions?
G. K. Chesterton was the one who said, "Christianity has not been tried and found wanting; it has been found difficult and not tried." The charge to imitate Christ can easily rally a few amens in the congregation on Sunday, but come Monday it is so easy to go all day without conforming my thoughts to His, my character to His, my beliefs to His, and so on.
Without doubt, much, if not all the weakness in the modern American church scene can be attributed to a few generations of Christians who have done little to imitate Him. To imitate Him, we must know Him, be drawn to Him, and to love Him more than life itself. Somehow, that does not quite describe the church I have been acquainted with most of my life.
So, this is serious, but not hopeless. Repentance is needed on our end and rewarded by Christ. What has not been done in the past can be done from this day forward. Oh for a church gathering together on the Lord's Day where we all look like, think like, sing like, praise like, obey like, and worship like Christ!