“Be imitators of me, just as I also am of Christ.”-1 Corinthians 11:1
We live in very interesting times. This generation is growing tired of the Christian form of hero worship that makes superstars out of preachers because these “heroes” constantly disappoint us by failing to live up to perceived expectations. This disenchantment with the examples of Christians is one of the reasons why more and more Gen Zers (those born 1999-2015) are choosing to reject Christianity and in some extremes they are rejecting God all together. Barna group research indicates that 23% of non-christian Gen Zers say that Christian hypocrisy is a barrier preventing them from embracing the faith (https://www.barna.com/research/gen-z-questions-answered).
Paul knew that he alone could not provide an adequate enough example to those that he was leading, but Jesus could and as he followed Jesus they would be encouraged to imitate Jesus more and imitate Paul less. He wasn’t offended by that, but he encouraged it. If we were to point people back to the example of Jesus and authentically demonstrate our own personal pursuit of the Christ-life then the world would see that Jesus is who we are trying to measure up to(see Ephesians 4:13). As we practice this there will be failures, but because of what Christ has done and is continually doing in us we should not park by our failures or allow them to define us.
This is by all means a faith walk. We are relying on God not ourselves. As walk out your faith in Christ’s finished work remember Hebrews 12:2, “[looking away from all that will distract us and] focusing our eyes on Jesus, who is the Author and Perfecter of faith [the first incentive for our belief and the One who brings our faith to maturity](Amplified Bible).” I remember when I ran track in high school I would always get tired faster when I looked around the track while running than I did when I focused on the goal of the race that I was in. We not competing with each other but we are running together encouraging each other to be like Jesus Christ. Stay focused on Jesus.
Steve Tolbert is an emerging revivalist who is passionate about drawing people closer to God.