February 18, 2015
"Be imitators of me, as I am of Christ." 1 Corinthians 11:1
Have you ever met someone that says they are something but when you observe their lifestyle and daily activities they look nothing like what they say they are? For example, what if you had the opportunity to spend the day with a professional gymnast training for the Olympics?
You go to breakfast and they eat pancakes, bacon and cheese eggs. They wash that down with a diet soda. Later in the day, they take you to one of their conditioning sessions and they workout for 15 minutes. After that, you go to lunch and they scarf down a double cheese burger with chili cheese fries and an extra large chocolate milk shake. A few hours later, they go to a practice session and do 5 minutes worth of floor work, 5 minutes on the bars and don't bother with the beam because they are "not feeling it today." They finish up with a couple of minutes on the uneven bar. After about 30-45 minutes at practice, they take you out for a long night on the town.
When asked, they explain that this is pretty much how their entire training season looks. They do, however, admit to you that once a week they spend 6 hours training and conditioning. On this day, they leave the double cheese burger and bacon and eggs alone, and go for a "healthier nutritional fair".
How would you respond to this? If you had to put your faith in their final placement in the Olympics, what would you say? Do you think they would even make it to the Olympics with such a relaxed training program? If it were me and I had spent all day with someone who said they were a gymnast training for the Olympics with these habits, I'd wonder if they truly were a gymnast.
Year ago, when I was pursuing acting, a coach of mine addressed his class. He mentioned an actress from old Hollywood and how protective she was of her craft. She said that whenever someone claimed to her that they were an actress, she'd respond with, "Oh really? What did you do today to work on your craft?" If their answer was nothing, she'd tell them they weren't really an actor. "If you haven't done anything related to your craft today, then you are not really an actor." That seems fair to say about anything we claim to be.
If this is the case for so many other trades and fields, how can a Christian claim to be a Christ follower and put so little into it? They don't go to church, they don't pray and speak to God regularly, and the reflection that they carry each day looks nothing like Jesus. How is this possible?
A gymnast is a gymnast for a short amount of time. An actor may be an actor for their entire life, but in terms of eternity, this is but a vapor of time. In order for a gymnast or actor to be successful, they understand that they must act the part at least 95% of the time. Often times, Christians act like Christ followers some times, then act like the world other times.
For the record, there isn't a set way that Christ followers need to act. We are not perfect, we do fail--A LOT! We are like a rainbow. We come in all different shapes, sizes with all types of personalities. The connection, is that we are to honor God in all that we do. Furthermore, God does not expect perfection from us, nor does He expect us not to fail. He does, however, expect us to use Christ as the example we are to live like. That way, when people see us, they see something different about us. They see a Christ follower.
When people look at a gymnast, you see a gymnast. Someone that does what is necessary to set themselves apart during competition. They sacrifice, and are willing to do whatever it takes in order to be recognized as an elite gymnast. As a Christ follower, we must do what is necessary to be set apart for Jesus. Although we are in the world, we are not of the world (John 17:16); therefore, we are to be set apart, so that when the world sees us, they see Jesus and not the world.
Paul tells the people of Corinth to be an imitator of him because he follows Jesus. We have an example of how we are to act. We must follow this example. If we are the only Christ follower someone sees, what kind of reflection will we be to them? Matthew 7:15-20 speaks on false prophets. It states that we shall know these false prophets by the fruit that they bear. Much like a true gymnast, if we look closely, we will know a true Christ follower by the fruit they bear. As a Christ follower, are you bearing good fruit?