• Chris Steele

“Imitate me, just as I also imitate Christ.”

Be Strong, Be Well — Friday, September 11

After reading the perils and mistreatment Paul endured in his preaching career (2 Corinthians 11:23-28), it seems as though it would have been easy, and perhaps justifiable, for him to become discouraged. But we know that’s not what he did.

Just a few paragraphs later the apostle said God allowed a messenger of Satan to give him a thorn in the flesh. He pleaded with the Lord to remove this burden, but the Lord refused (2 Corinthians 12:7, 8).

God’s response was, “...My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.”

Paul's response to this divine answer was, “Therefore most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in needs, in persecutions, in distresses, for Christ's sake. For when I am weak, then I am strong” (2 Corinthians 12:9-10).

Paul’s attitude is very humbling. For myself, when I think of this great apostle and Christian, I can’t help but to think how far away I am, how much more I need to grow, learn and adjust my life to get anywhere near his example. But then I think of how Paul looked at it. “Imitate me, just as I also imitate Christ” (1 Corinthians 11:1). Who can compare to Christ? How far we are from such a tremendous goal. 

Paul again, using himself as an example, has encouraged us to keep plugging along, striving for the goal. We must keep the prize before us at all times (Philippians 3:12-14)! The journey is long. It’s challenging. There may be many requirements along the way, and bumps in the road, but we must remember to keep moving forward, never stop, never give up.

In this present time, so many extra concerns have been added to our daily burdens. Granted, we’re all in different places—some are dealing with health issues, others with family, financial, or employment concerns. Regardless of our situation, look to Jesus. Look to Paul. Remember what they went through. We have all the help we need in God and His word.

Keep in mind the words of Paul when he said, “Not that I speak in regard to need, for I have learned in whatever state I am, to be content: I know how to be abased, and I know how to abound. Everywhere and in all things I have learned both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need. I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me” (Philippians 4:11-13). —Chris

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