“You, however, have following my teaching, my conduct, my aim in life, my faith, my patience, my love, my steadfastness, my persecutions and sufferings that happened to me at Antioch, at Iconium, and at Lystra—which persecutions I endured; yet from them all the Lord rescued me.” — 2 Timothy 3:10-11, ESV
The first thing that Paul mentions to Timothy in this list is his teaching. Timothy followed Paul’s teaching. And think about it: what an amazing mentor to have in the apostle Paul. But notice that the list continues. Paul mentions to Timothy that he has lived his life in such a way that Timothy could witness first-hand his conduct, his aim in life, his faith, his patience, love and steadfastness. He has seen how Paul has enduring persecutions until the day that God decided to rescue him from each of those persecutions. Timothy did not just hear about Paul’s doctrine and theology. Rather, he saw it lived out because Paul invited him to do so.
I was reminded this morning that I am called to live a life that is truly worthy of the gospel that I’ve been called to. However, I’ve been called to live it publicly for others to follow. I am not called to preach Christ from the pulpit while ignoring him when I step away from it. In fact, the majority of my life with Christ happens when I’m not teaching. I should be open with others about my faith, my goals in life, my love, faith and steadfastness, as well as being real that I struggle as I strive to live, by God’s grace, for Jesus.
If you’ve been called to teach God’s word, let me ask you this: are you a follower of Christ before you’re a teacher? If not, then you’re not a very good teacher.
And then I had to ask myself this question: Am I living for Christ in such a way that I would want others to emulate me as they walk with Jesus? I’m not speaking with a self-centered heart in this. Rather, I’m asking this question as a personal challenge of myself. I should strive to live my life in such a way that I would want everyone to imitate me as I imitate Christ. Paul said it this way in his first letter to the Corinthians:
Even though you have ten thousand guardians in Christ, you do not have many fathers, for in Christ Jesus I became your father through the gospel. Therefore I urge you to imitate me. — 1 Corinthians 4:15-16, NIV
Am I doing that? Are you? Are we settling for “good enough”? May it never be.
I live for you. I want to live my life for you, by your grace and power, in such a way that others could imitate me as I imitate you, resulting in you being pleased with us.