Friday, March 29, 2013

Imagine No Malaria-Lenten Devotion Day 45: March 29

Friday, March 29, 2013: I Want to Be Like You 

Philippians 3:10 “I want to know Christ and the power of his resurrection and the sharing of his sufferings by becoming like him in his death.” 

We are influenced, negatively or positively, by different people over the course of life. As youngsters, our family shapes our character and personality, thoughts and behaviors, desires and dislikes, ambitions and aspirations. Then friends and peers start to sway us, as we search for identity while trying hard to fit in. 

Isn’t it surprising that, as adults, we suddenly realize that our parents are smarter and wiser than what we thought as teens? Our spouse, significant other, boss, co-workers, and church family become influential forces in our lives at different times, depending on circumstances and experiences. But, whom do you admire, want to know better, be most like, and follow? Everyone has someone. Perhaps, it is a parent, that special teacher, uniquely gifted youth pas-tor, caring camp counselor, or dynamic campus minister whom you strive to imitate. 

The apostle Paul admired, worshipped, and praised Jesus. Jesus was his role model, the one whom he most desired to be like and to follow. In Jesus, Paul saw as much of God as he (or we) can hope to see in life on this side of heaven. He realized that Jesus is the way to God, to abundant life, and true freedom. He lived to be the best he could be for God by imitating Christ. 

All Christians want to know and experience Christ more and to live, as Paul did. 

Yet, the reality is that living for Jesus isn’t easy. People cringe at the thought of suffering. However, Paul realized that he had to travel the road through valleys of suffering to get to resurrected new life and greater possibilities. Still, Paul never wavered, dismissing his sufferings in the present time as unworthy compared with the glory that would be revealed in him. In fact, he realized that he had to share in Christ’s sufferings for the sake of the kingdom of God in order to be found worthy of his calling. 
So, too, must Christians share in Christ’s suffering, not just physical suffering but also spiritual suffering relentless concern for the least, lost, and last. But, in our suffering, we also experience Christ’s peace and comfort. 

If you are living in that spiritual place where Paul resided, then you are the kind of role model God wants and can use. Continue as John Wesley, founder of Methodism, instructed: doing all the good you can, by all the means you can in all the ways you can, at all times you can, to all the people you can, as long as ever you can. 

Prayer: God remind us that you do not forget our good works or our suffering for Christ’s sake that helps others and makes a positive difference. 

Rev. Paul Taylor, Pennsylvania 

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