When you think about the life of Paul, usually the thought of him being a supermodel doesn’t find its way into your mind.
But, examine his life. He was the ultimate model of Christ Jesus or you could say he reached SUPERMODEL status. Of course the ULTIMATE MODEL for us is Jesus Christ.
Paul wants us to come alongside him on Christ’s mission, just as we should call people to come alongside us, if we are living on mission for Jesus. Paul says in few place to follow his example.
I Corinthians 11:1 “Follow my example, as I follow the example of Christ”
I Corinthians 4:16 “Therefore I urge you to imitate me.”
Philippians 3:17 “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.”
I could continue, but you should get the point.
Paul is not saying to follow or get behind him as a man, but says that we need to accompany him or you could say walk alongside him as he follows Jesus. Are you walking along side Jesus on mission and if so who do you have walking alongside you? This can only be done through the power of the Holy Spirit working through the Gospel of Jesus.
He makes it very clear it is Jesus we are to GO AFTER with everything in us. Jesus makes the point also in Matthew’s Gospel.
Then Jesus said to his disciples, “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will find it. What good will it be for someone to gain the whole world, yet forfeit their soul? Or what can anyone give in exchange for their soul? For the Son of Man is going to come in his Father’s glory with his angels, and then he will reward each person according to what they have done.”
How can we be supermodels for Jesus? We at Restore will do this through our Missional Community Groups. That is where life happens with Christians and not-yet Christians. It is not enough to have community groups… a community group must have a mission.
Tim Keller at Redeemer Presbyterian Church in New York states the following as how we are to live where we are. Of course we live in Detroit, but this fits wherever you live.
* WORD (Ezra). Ezra recovered the Word for the people. Preaching, disciplining, teaching. evangelizing in a way contextualized to the concerns and capacities of the people of the city.
* DEED (Nehemiah). Nehemiah made the city safe and functional. Mercy and Justice! Holistic ministry. Safe streets, good jobs, decent housing, good schools.
* WORK (Esther). Esther rose high in a pagan society but then used her position at great risk to work for justice in society and for her people. A key part of city ministry is to equip Christians to work distinctively as Christians in their vocation.
* COMMUNITY (Jeremiah). Jeremiah’s letter (chapter 29) told the exiles to neither assimilate nor separate but live out their lives as a community ‘seeking the peace of the city’. So we are not only to be ‘witnesses’ by our individual lives, but by the beauty of our communal life. a) Generosity with money and simplicity of life, b) races and classes loving together over barriers, c) sexual purity and respect shown by men/women to one another in relationships.
Inward focus is not what Paul wanted for his life or for ours. He wanted our focus on Christ and Christ calls us to make disciples, which is not an inward activity.