Posts Tagged philosophy

Modeling Christ-likeness

By Paul Wilkinson

Our goal as LIFE Group and Focus Study leaders is to be disciplers such that we guide, direct, and influence our people toward Christ-likeness. One way to understand Christ-likeness is that the words and deeds of Jesus flow naturally out of us. Jesus and Paul give us a strong principle of what it means to live in such a way before our people.
I am trained as a philosopher. In modern times, philosophy can get a bad rap as some completely abstract, impractical enterprise. In some ways, philosophy can become that. But originally, or at least for Western philosophy since Socrates (470-399 BC), philosophy was about seeking the good life. What are virtues? What is the Good? How do we live well? In order to do this, groups of people would follow around these sages to ask questions and, essentially, copy their lives. The same can be said of the Jewish Rabbis. Individuals learned from them by living their lives with them.
Jesus and Paul epitomize this approach. In John 5:19, Jesus says, “I assure you: The Son is not able to do anything on His own, but only what He sees the Father doing.” And Paul makes a parallel argument to the Church at Corinth in 1 Corinthians 4:15-6, “For you can have 10,000 instructors in Christ, but you can’t have many fathers. For I became your father in Christ Jesus through the gospel. Therefore I urge you to imitate me,” and 1 Corinthians 11:1, “Imitate me, as I also imitate Christ.” The general principle seems to be that the leader emulates his/her authority. Jesus, though equal in nature to the Father, freely subordinated His will to Father’s will. Paul imitated Jesus and encouraged the Church at Corinth to do the same.
I would suggest that the same principle applies for us as leaders today. We feed our souls with the Scripture, prayer, fasting, etc., so that we do only those things we see Jesus, Paul, and others faithful in the Scriptures doing. We do those things through the power of the Holy Spirit indwelling us, convicting us, and guiding us. And we must now adopt the mentality that those that God has called us to shepherd should do those things they see us doing. For that reason, feeding your soul and remaining obedient to Jesus’ commands become even more paramount. In that way, the words and deeds of Christ will naturally flow out of you, and as your people see that life modeled, they too will begin to live like Christ.