I CORINTHIANS 11:1: “Imitate me, just as I also imitate Christ.” NKJV
OBSERVATION: What is the most important thing that I can do as a father? Is it to provide for my family? Is it to give my children sound advice? Is it to provide discipline and correction when needed? All of these things are part of being a father. Yet, there is one that stands out above all else.
We do not know if Paul was ever married or if he had any children. Yet, the Apostle Paul was a spiritual father to many. He had been instrumental in planting churches all over the known world. And, in each church, he had raised up leaders. He gave birth to spiritual children who would follow in his footsteps and give spiritual birth to others.
In his letter to the Corinthians, he says something that is easy to pass by with a cursory reading. Paul says – “Imitate me, just as I also imitate Christ.” When I read this statement I am both challenged and undone at the same time. When I look at my life I wonder – “Am I really imitating Christ?” Would I have the confidence to tell my child –
“Imitate me, as I also imitate Christ?”
I will never forget a TV Commercial from the 1970s. It was an anti-smoking commercial. It showed a father and son doing everything together. Each step of the way the son would try to imitate his father. They skipped rocks on a lake together, they washed a car together, and then they sat down by a tree together. The father began to smoke a cigarette and laid the pack of cigarettes by his side. The commercial closes with the young boy picking up the pack of cigarettes and looking at his father. The voice-over says – “Like Father, Like Son.”
To be honest, my life is much like the father in the commercial. While I try to live my life for Christ, I am keenly aware of my own shortcomings and failures. How can I honestly look at my life and say to my child – “Imitate me, as I also imitate Christ.”? This morning, being Father’s Day, gave me pause to reflect on this once again. And, then I heard the tender whisper of the Holy Spirit.
Lead them to the Cross!
I can never imitate Jesus Christ in His perfection. I can never love as He loved. I can never forgive as He forgave. Yet, there is something that I can do. I can lead my children to His Cross. I can model my dependence upon His completed work of grace. I can be honest with my failings and let my children see me running to the Cross for grace and mercy in my time of need. And, in doing this, I can truly say –
“Imitate me, as I also imitate Christ!”
- “Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.” Hebrews 12:1-2 NKJV
Fatherhood is a race. It is not a sprint. It is a marathon. It takes courage and it takes grace. The destination is Jesus Christ. The pathway is the Cross. As I continually run to the Cross, I am able to lay aside every weight and sin that so easily ensnares me. And, as I continually run to the Cross I am imitating Jesus Christ, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has now sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.
My destination, my example, and my legacy are secure if I continually run to His Cross! This is the example that I need to give to my children. This is the lesson that will never be forgotten. This is the legacy that will continue in their lives long after I leave this world.
This is the highest call of Fatherhood!
Lord, I confess that I have not been a perfect father. I have failed numerous times. I have said things that should never have come out of my mouth. However, I have always been transparent about these shortcomings. And, I have endeavored to leave a pathway that is clear and well worn. A pathway to Your Cross! This is the legacy that I want to leave my child. May I then truly be able to say,
“Imitate me, as I also imitate Christ.”
In Jesus Name!