I THESSALONIANS 1:6-8: “And you became imitators of us and of the Lord, for you received the word in much affliction, with the joy of the Holy Spirit, so that you became an example to all the believers in Macedonia and in Achaia. For not only has the word of the Lord sounded forth from you in Macedonia and Achaia, but your faith in God has gone forth everywhere, so that we need not say anything.” (ESV)

OBSERVATION: Is my life worth imitating? When I read these words I am greatly challenged. Paul would also write to the Corinthians – “Therefore I urge you, imitate me.” (I Corinthians 4:16) In these verses he commends the Thessalonians for becoming imitators of his life (and the apostles). As I read these verses I must ask myself once again the opening question – “Is my life worth imitating?”

If perfection were the criteria for a life that is worthy to imitate, no one would be able to be a role model, including the Apostle Paul. Paul never claimed to be perfect, or to have attained to some higher level of knowledge as was purported by some. Paul in his own writings makes this very clear:

“Now concerning food offered to idols: we know that “all of us possess knowledge.” This “knowledge” puffs up, but love builds up. If anyone imagines that he knows something, he does not yet know as he ought to know.” (1 Corinthians‬ ‭8:1-2‬ ‭ESV‬‬)

“Not that I have already obtained this or am already perfect, but I press on to make it my own, because Christ Jesus has made me his own. Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it my own. But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians‬ ‭3:12-14‬ ‭ESV‬)‬

Within these statements, and within the verses of I Thessalonians 1:6-8 that we are looking at, we find the key to understanding the call to have a life worthy of imitating. To the Thessalonians Paul writes – “And you became imitators of us and of the Lord…” In I Corinthians 11:1 Pau writes – “Imitate me, just as I also imitate Christ.When we put all of these things together we get a balanced and achievable understanding of the call to have a life worthy of imitating.

I cannot ask someone to imitate my perfection in Christ, for I have not attained it. I cannot ask someone to imitate my knowledge of Christ, for I learn every day how much I do not know. However, I can live a life that is worthy of imitating by honestly, openly, and transparently dealing with my sin each day and drawing upon God’s All Sufficient Grace to become more and more like Jesus.

We are all climbing up a mountain of which we cannot see the top. None of us has reached the summit, nor will we reach it in our lifetime. However, each one of us can set an example to be imitated by quickly correcting our course when we get off track (a heart of sincere repentance), and continuing to put one foot in front of the other in our climb to the top (drawing upon God’s Grace). The greatest example we can set for others to follow is a life that does not lose heart, that continues to pursue the Lord, and that puts the past behind us (through repentance and forgiveness), pressing on to the high calling of God in Christ Jesus!

Lord, help me be that man!  In Jesus Name!

About Kirk's Devotional Journal

Kirk L. Zehnder is the Founder of Resurrection Christian Outreach. RCO is a ministry that promotes the growth and vitality of the local church through speaking engagements, seminars, various media tools, and written curriculum and books. This ministry was started over 35 years ago by Kirk as a means to strengthen the church that he was pastoring. It grew as Kirk began to share these tools with other churches. Today many of the materials are being used by local churches both nationally and internationally. Kirk's Devotional Journal is a result of struggling with Bible reading programs that never seemed to work. Kirk feels the Lord helped him discover an easy-to-follow program to Read, Reflect, Pray, and Journal through the Bible in one year. This program is called L.I.F.E. Unlike other programs there are no dates to follow. You can miss a day and still complete your reading. You never feel like the dates and verses you missed are chasing you. You are free to enjoy your daily Biblical journey and listen to the voice of The Lord. For more information on the L.I.F.E. plan, send an email to Kirk is also available for speaking engagements, seminars, and retreats. With over 40 years of professional business and pastoral ministry experience, Kirk brings a unique combination of practical wisdom, humor, and Biblical insight. If you would like Kirk to speak at your church, school, or ministry, please send an email to and we will get back to you as soon as possible to discuss your opportunity.
This entry was posted in I Thessalonians. Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s