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We need more of it. 1 Corinthians 11.1, 2

1 Corinthians 11 (1)

Pray Psalm 16.1-3.
Preserve me, O God, for in You I put my trust.
O my soul, you have said to the LORD,
“You are my Lord,
My goodness is nothing apart from You.”
As for the saints who are on the earth,
“They are the excellent ones, in whom is all my delight.”
…You will show me the path of life;
In Your presence is fullness of joy;
At Your right hand are pleasures forevermore.

Sing Psalm 16.1-3,11.
(All to Christ: Jesus Paid It All)
Preserve me, O my God; I refuge seek in You.
You alone are all my good, my LORD and Savior true!
Refrain v. 11
Make me know life’s way! Pleasures fill Your hand.
Fill my life with joy each day! Before Your face I stand.

The saints within the earth, majestic in their day,
delight me with the worth of all they do and say.

Read and meditate on 1 Corinthians 11.1, 2.

1. What did Paul instruct the Corinthians to do?

2. Whom did he imitate?

We hear that “imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.” Paul would not agree. He would say that imitation—if we’re imitating the right people—is an essential component of growing in the Lord.

Paul certainly understood that, and he imitated Jesus as fully as possible (v. 1). He had already (chapter 9) set himself as an example of self-denial for the Corinthians; here, he called them to imitate him as they remembered him (v. 2) when he was among them for nearly two years. Was he demanding? Insisting on his “rights”? Vaunting himself over the other apostles? Or was he diligent, faithful, patient, and devoted to serving the Corinthians? They would know.

We can learn by imitating Paul and other faithful saints who faithfully imitated Jesus.

Paul also encouraged them to “keep the traditions” he delivered to them. Faithful followers of Jesus establish ways of following Him, doing His will, and seeking His Kingdom that become reliable traditions for making disciples and building the Church (cf. 2 Thess. 2.15). They are not absolutely binding, but traditions which arise from the practice of sound doctrine and the example of faithful saints can be helpful in shaping our own walk with and work for the Lord. Lots of things fall into this category, including hymns, orders of worship, ways of caring for the flock, creeds and confessions, interpreting Scripture (chapter 5), and much more. When traditions are based on Scripture and proven in practice, they can be very helpful. We ought to keep those that help us glorify God in all things.

Treasures Old and New: Matthew 13.52; Psalm 119.162.
Paul wrote much the same thing to the church in Thessalonica: “For you yourselves know how you ought to follow us, for we were not disorderly among you; nor did we eat anyone’s bread free of charge, but worked with labor and toil night and day, that we might not be a burden to any of you, not because we do not have authority, but to make ourselves an example of how you should follow us” (2 Thess. 3.7-9).

Gideon told the soldiers with him, before their invasion of a Midianite camp: “Look at me and do likewise; watch and when I come to the edge of the camp you shall do as I do…” (Judgs. 7.17).

Jesus taught: “A disciple is not above his teacher, but everyone who is perfectly trained will be like his teacher” (Lk. 6.40).

Paul wrote to the church in Philippi: “Brethren, join in following my example, and note those who so walk, as you have us for a pattern” (Phil. 3.17).

Paul wrote to the church in Ephesus: “Therefore be imitators of God as dear children. And walk in love, as Christ also has loved us and given Himself for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweet-smelling aroma” (Eph. 5.1, 2).

Our life is to be a huge game of Simon Says and Follow the Leader.
We have been given a plethora of examples to follow in Scripture and throughout history, up to the present day. God is always worthy of imitating, as is Jesus. Paul, and a multitude of other New Testament people, many Old Testament characters like Moses, Daniel, and Joseph—people who surmounted the evil around them and were overcomers for goodness because God was living in them—all worthy of imitating.

And our calling as imitators of God and of Paul, is to become someone worthy for others to imitate.

“Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life;
And I will dwell in the house of the LORD forever” (Ps. 23.6).

“I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus” (Phil. 3.14).

God, fill us with Your mercy and grace, that we may one day confidently say, “Imitate me, just as I also imitate Christ” (1 Cor. 11.1), doing all for Your glory, that many will be saved (1 Cor. 10.31, 33).

For reflection
1. Whom are you imitating in your walk with and work for the Lord?

2. Who is imitating you? What are they seeing that will lead them into a deeper walk with the Lord?

3. What can you do to improve your ability to imitate Jesus?

Here there are two things to be observed ― first, that he prescribes nothing to others that he had not first practiced himself; and, secondly, that he directs himself and others to Christ as the only pattern of right acting.  
John Calvin (509-1564), Commentary on 1 Corinthians 11.1

Pray Psalm 16.5-11.
Pray that God will enhance your vision of Jesus, and that He will empower you to walk as Jesus did all day long (1 Jn. 2.1-6).

Sing Psalm 16.5-11.
(All to Christ: Jesus Paid It All)
My portion and my cup are You, my Savior dear;
You help and hold me up and ever keep me near.
Refrain v. 11
Make me know life’s way! Pleasures fill Your hand.
Fill my life with joy each day! Before Your face I stand.

I bless Your Name, O LORD; my mind instructs each night;
You teach me by Your Word and guide me in the right.

You are ever with me, LORD; in You I shall not fall.
But rejoicing in Your Word, I abide within Your call.

Soon Your glory I shall see, for as Jesus rose again,
You will come to gather me to my home with You in heav’n.

T. M. and Susie Moore

The Church in Corinth was in need of revival. But there was much to be done before that would happen. The Church today is in need of revival, and the same is true for us. Our book, Revived!, can help us to discern our need for revival and lead us in getting there. Order your copy by clicking here.

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Except as indicated, all Scriptures are taken from the New King James Version. © Copyright 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved. For sources of all quotations, see the weekly PDF of this study. All psalms for singing are from The Ailbe Psalter, available by clicking here.


T.M. Moore

T. M. Moore is principal of The Fellowship of Ailbe, a spiritual fellowship in the Celtic Christian tradition. He and his wife, Susie, make their home in the Champlain Valley of Vermont.
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