By Drew Zuverink
"We do not want you to become lazy, but to imitate those who through faith and patience inherit what has been promised."
This verse makes me think of an assignment I had to do when I was in kindergarten. The assignment was simple, (it had to be we were only five) we were to say who our hero was and why we looked up to them. Some of the little boys excitedly talked about their favorite athlete or superhero but I can vividly remember that many of us talked about our dads. One boy said, "I look up to my dad because he's strong." (A classic my dad could beat up your dad argument which is sure to start a fight between even the kindest of little boys). Other kids said things like, "I look up to my dad because he takes good care of my mom, or my dad's my hero because he plays catch with me." Whatever the reasons were, that kindergarten classroom was filled with young boys who all said, "when I grow up I want to be just like my dad."
It's good for little boys to have a father figure to look up to, but when it comes to living a life that is pleasing to God, we all need someone that can show us the way. Surely I can't be the only one who has struggled with questions like these:
How often should I read the Bible?
Honestly, when I read the Bible I don't get much out of it, is there anything I can do to change that?
I know God wants me to live a life of service, especially looking out for those in need, but what does that look like?
Is it even possible to respond with kindness when I'm offended?
I want to be a good husband or wife but what does that look like?
How would Jesus want me to spend my time?
I want to be a godly father or mother, how do I make sure that I'm living into that?
I know Jesus wants me to share my faith but how?
Life is all about priorities, what does it look like to have them in the right order?
Many of us genuinely long to please God in everything that we do, but sometimes we just don't know what that looks like. Our problem isn't that we don't want to live for God, our problem is that we don't always know how to live for God. We just can't picture it.
It is a mistake to simply say, "Jesus is our example. He is the only one who's lived a perfect life so just follow in his footsteps. If you imitate someone else you'll just be imitating another sinner." While it is true that Jesus is the ultimate example of how a person should live and following in his footsteps is great, but do you want to know what else is great? A flesh and blood example of what following Jesus looks like in our modern world. People worth imitating are such gifts and the world needs more people who strive to become that. Do not excuse yourself from that calling because you are a sinner, that is false humility. Scripture praises people who were godly examples all over the place and we should never diminish the value of godly examples just because we are all are sinners.
Each of us ought to do two things. First, seek out godly people worth imitating. Cherish them, ask them questions, watch them closely, be discipled by them. Then secondly, work to become someone worth imitating yourself so that you can be a blessing for other people.