Philippians 3:17 (NIV)
17 Join together in following my example, brothers and sisters, and just as you have us as a model, keep your eyes on those who live as we do.
Paul wants us to follow his example, not just his teaching. He teaches a lot of theology in his letters, but correct thinking should lead to correct living. One way to do this is to model our lives after others who have gone before us. It's interesting that Paul suggested they follow his example, rather than that of Jesus. Perhaps he felt that his audience had put Jesus on such a pedestal that they would feel hopeless trying to emulate his perfect life, or maybe it was simply that they could no longer see Jesus living out his life day to day. In our day it isn't just Jesus. We have now put biblical examples like Paul and Peter, and even modern teachers like Billy Graham, on pedestals, and we certainly don't see much of how they dealt with the difficulties of life. Trying to follow their example can become so daunting that we quickly get discouraged. So our challenge for this day is to model our lives after those we can relate to, rather than "giants" such as Jesus, Paul, or Peter.
And how can we do this, and not give up when we mess up? Paul begins verse 17 with two innocuous words, "Join together." The key is that we can't do this alone. Find someone(s) you can mutually encourage, struggle together, and rejoice with. Joining a community group or getting involved in a ministry is a great way to meet these people. And as you go about today, don't just say "What Would Jesus Do?" Also say, "What Would My Friends Do?"
Father, I want to live like you. Give me the wisdom to see those whose lives can be a model, and lead me to others who are ready to live this adventure together.
By: Dave Ojemann