(Php 3:17 – 4:1) “Therefore, my brothers and sisters, you whom I love and long for, my joy and crown, stand firm in the Lord in this way, dear friends!”
“Monkey see, monkey do,” we often say when children or toddlers imitate adults. Sometimes we look at our children and see ourselves; the way your daughter speaks to her dolls reminds you of how you as mother speak to her! But dolls do not “talk back” and dolls do not copy the behaviour of the “mothers”. But it is also true that we set examples in our faith life that are imitated by others.
Paul writes this letter from prison. He writes to a community with whom he has a special relationship and in the letter he expresses his love and affection. They had been good to him. He emphasises that his joy is Jesus Christ. It is not a secret; he wants to share it with them.
Paul cautions them to stand firm and stay true to the Lord. This is also the example he “lives”. He warns them that they should not attach too much importance to worldly things. They should stay focused on one thing: Jesus Christ. They should strive to become as Christ. And then, our text: They should choose the right people to follow and to imitate. They should be in harmony with each other and think right and do right. Let us focus on Paul’s charge to those he loves: They should “copy” the right people, imitate the right example. They should imitate the right attitude and behaviour. Paul is focused on Christ, and strives to imitate the example of Christ.
Just compare the example that Paul follows with the role models and icons of our society, which we and our children follow so blindly! Paul advises us: If you make the behaviour of Christ your own, you will focus on Him and strive to follow Him. He will be you centre and your everything! To survive in this world, you need Christ! Just copy His attitude of love and forgiveness and respect for each other. Live out these principles and experience how His power becomes the guarantee for much more. The guarantee for this is the power of Christ who has brought everything under His control.
As we start the second week of Lent, and as we are again reminded of the way of suffering that our Lord chose to walk in obedience and dependence of the Father, let us hold on to the hope we have. Let us stand firm and stay true to the Lord who holds on to us and carries us to the end. Let us try to follow in His footsteps!
To think about: Which role model/idol would you swop for Christ ? Why ?