If you are a regular reader of my blog articles, you will know that I am quite fond of Dallas Willard’s phrase, “living a Jesus-kind-of-life.”
Today’s passage in First Thessalonians reminds me of Willard’s teaching.
Imitate Jesus and Spiritual Giants
What does it look like to live a Jesus-kind-of-life. Paul didn’t use the phrase, but he fully captured the meaning of living like Jesus.
1 Thessalonians 1.6 – And you became imitators of us and of the Lord, for in spite of persecution you received the word with joy from the Holy Spirit.
We can and should learn how to live a life like Jesus by becoming very familiar with his actions, attitudes, and teaching in the Gospels.
Once we have learned what a Jesus-kind-of-life looks like, we depend on the Holy Spirit’s help to begin imitating the Greatest Being of All.
What if someone doesn’t have access to a Bible. The Christians in the first century didn’t have access to the Scriptures. In addition, most were unable to read.
Paul’s life and teaching provided them a picture of what living a Jesus-kind-of-life looked like.
He wrote, “Be imitators of me, as I am of Christ” (1 Corinthians 11.1).
Most people in our culture don’t read the Bible. As they old saying goes, “You are the only Bible people will read.”
People will see our behavior and will either be drawn to Christ or repelled.
What are the Results?
What kind of results can we expect, if we imitate Jesus and spiritual giants of the faith?
Paul wrote about the impact the church had on the surrounding regions.
1 Thessalonians 1.7 – So that you became an example to all the believers in Macedonia and in Achaia.
As the church was molded by the attitudes and actions of Jesus and Paul, they became examples to others.
All of us have significant events and people in our lives that have shaped who we are.
Pause for a few minutes and think of the people who have helped you along the way to become the person you are today. Please join me in thanking people who provided a Christ-like example for us to imitate.
In today’s YouTube video, Rudy Ross and I talk about some men who like the Thessalonians were changed by the gospel and the power of the Holy Spirit.
These men were formerly “bad guys,” but by the grace of God became servants of the King of kings.
Here is how Paul described the impact people who live a Jesus-kind-of-life will make.
1 Thessalonians 1.8-9 – For the word of the Lord has sounded forth from you not only in Macedonia and Achaia but in every place your faith in God has become known, so that we have no need to speak about it.
For they report about us what kind of welcome we had among you and how you turned to God from idols to serve a living and true God.
Idols are substitutes for God. The Roman Empire had more idols than could be counted.
People were afraid of them and superstition about them abounded.
Paul declared to the church that we are free from the power of idols. “He has rescued us from the power of darkness and transferred us into the kingdom of his beloved Son” (Colossians 1.13).
No longer did the church have to serve idols. Instead, they were free to serve the “living and true God.”
Jeremiah summarized what God’s people learned by experience with him.
But the Lord is the true God;
he is the living God and the everlasting King. (Jeremiah 10.10)
Unlike the idols, the “living and true God” sets us free to live an abundant life with him.
Let’s thank him for his abundant grace and for the opportunity to live a Jesus-kind-of-life.
Rudy Ross and I discuss this passage on YouTube today. It can be found on the Bob Spradling YouTube channel.
Please email your prayer requests to email@example.com. The Maywood prayer team will pray for you.