Imitating Others

Hebrews 13:7-8

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Over this past year my 10-year-old son has become obsessed with the Minnesota Vikings. And especially his favorite player Adam Thielen. Just to give you a little glimpse of his obsession, his room is covered with Vikings colors, and Vikings posters, and pictures of his favorite player. In fact, he’s told my wife and I that he wants us to put him into peewee football next fall. And he’s been practicing, even during the winter. He’s doing laps around the block. He’s running in the basement when it’s too cold. He’s high stepping over toys. He’s throwing passes to himself. He even told us when he turns 18 he’s planning to change his name to Adam Thielen.

You could probably relate to that image of a boy obsessed with an athlete. A lot of young people get obsessed with athletes or movie stars or musicians. They want to emulate them. They want to be just like them. And to be honest, we as adults maybe can do something similar perhaps a bit more subtly though. Maybe we want to emulate someone who is successful in our career field. We want to be just like them. Maybe we want to be just like someone who’s successful in diet and exercise. Yes, we have our own role models as well even as adults today.

Have you ever thought though of making a Christian, a fellow Christian, your role model? Maybe like your pastor. Or maybe like your Sunday school teacher. Or a parent or a friend. Probably doesn’t rank first on the list of people that others want to emulate. Usually we think of those actors and athletes and musicians first, right?

Just a Christian? Really doesn’t seem that glamorous. Yet, this is exactly what God invites us to do in Hebrews chapter 13 verse 7. He says this

Remember your leaders, who spoke the word of God to you. Carefully consider the outcome of their way of life and imitate their faith. (Hebrews 13:7)

He invites us to remember our leaders. To remember those that taught us God’s word. Think about how valuable that is right? Would we be missing without knowing God’s word? We wouldn’t know our Savior Jesus Christ. We wouldn’t know the peace that he offers and the forgiveness of sins. How valuable those that have taught us God’s word, those that have shown us these truths and shown us our Savior.

The second thing the apostle Paul reminds us of, he encourages us to imitate their way of life and consider the outcome of that life. It isn’t one that’s likely filled with much great outward prosperity in the things of this world. But it is one that is certainly worth imitating. One who is strong and their faith is one that is close to their Savior Jesus Christ.

You know there’s a story told about a woman who had heard about the faith of another woman a few towns away from her. She wanted to journey a great distance to go and meet this amazing Christian woman and ask her her secret. Ask how she herself could have greater faith. When finally the two women met the one who traveled from afar finally asked her, she said “What is your secret to a strong faith? Why is your faith so strong?” To which the woman responded “Me? Having strong faith? No, you must be mistaken. I have a very weak faith, but in a very strong Savior.”

How important that is for us to remember when remembering our leaders and wanting to emulate fellow Christians. We want to emulate their faith in their strong Savior. The final thing I’ll leave you with today is really the very next verse in Hebrews chapter 13. It’s a very famous verse.

Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever. (Hebrews 13:8)

The faith that we want to emulate is the faith that clings to Christ always. At all times. In good times and bad, in hardship and trouble, that’s the faith that we wish that we ourselves had and grew stronger in as well. May God ever help us to grow stronger and our faith, to desire to emulate fellow Christians. Especially that cling to the truth of God’s Word. That cling to their Savior Jesus Christ no matter what. Amen.