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People need hope more than ever. As followers of Jesus, we have this promise in Colossians 1:27.....Listen to Radio Podcast featured on Moody Radio April 17 2024 



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.


Philippians 3:17


I know that we’re a people that like to be able to do life on our own. We want to be self-sufficient, able to do just about anything by ourselves. Whether it’s to complete some tasks, cook a meal, or just live one day, we want to think we can do it all on our own.


And if you think about all the technology we have, what does it do? It simply pulls us apart. What once took a team of people to do, one farmer on a GPS-guided tractor does in about one-tenth the time. What used to be done by a bunch of people who met at a stream is now done by one person washing and drying cloths. Teams of people used to go out together to hunt has been replaced by one person going to the meat counter at the grocery store.


Now there’s lots of people that run all over the place, jumping up and down about their team. How powerful being part of a team makes them. But they are the minor minority. It’s all about the individual. It’s all about me.


Now I can’t speak for anyone else, but through my many years of scientific observation, I’ve found that there is one kind of person that feels this independence more than anyone else. The information I’ve collected and analyzed on my computers is very clear.


This group of people seems to have some internal engine that pushes them into extreme independence. Every breath they take seems to be filled with self-reliance. They don’t have a single thought in their head that they can’t do something by themselves better than with help from others.


I’m of course talking about men. You know them: the masters of their own universe. Able to drive anywhere without looking at a map or asking for directions. These highly skilled individuals can put together a rocket to the moon without the right tools or an instruction manual.


But for some reason, Paul’s not like other men. He says that we need help. A model, an example of what this living for Jesus’ thing looks like. And instead of doing what people normally do, he does something wildly different. He doesn’t write down a list of five noble truths, or a diagram of eight pillars.


Paul goes way out on a limb and gives them a person to follow. An individual to imitate. A list or drawling is just that. It’s cold and impersonal. There’s nothing to interact with. Whatever’s on the page just sits there. It can’t grab your attention. It will never inspire you to think differently. Act differently. Be different.


When it comes to the time to follow Paul’s example, this isn’t some option or choice. It isn’t something that we can choose to check the box or not. No. It’s a command. We are ordered to be in the business of constantly following Paul’s example.


Imagine the people around you are being ordered to follow someone. When you follow someone, you have to be willing to give up your rights. The right to choose. The right to do things your way. The right to live how you want to live.


Now, instead of that command going to someone else, it comes directly to you. It’s not some email that you can just delete before opening. It’s not a call from a number that you don’t know. It’s not a text from an unknown number. It’s not a message that came through your social media feeds.


An example is like target practice. First of all, we have to turn away from everything else and start paying attention to the target. But more than just paying attention, we must continually focus only on the target. This means ignoring everything else, turning away from everyone and everything to focus on the target.


But just seeing the target is only the beginning. It’s only half the battle. Then, you have to hit it. First with one shot. Then another. Then another. If you only hit the target once, then it might be an accident. You have to be able to hit the target over and over again.


Why else would Paul tell the Philippians to keep their eyes on the people who are models in the way they live for Jesus. They are to fix their eyes and watch with all their interest. This isn’t something they look at casually. Absolutely not. They’re to watch intently on the way they speak. The way they act. Their attitude.


Think about the things you value. The people you love. The activities you enjoy. With all of them, you pay attention to them. You watch and learn. You see what they do and how they do it. And then you try to imitate them, doing it the same way.


So, who’s your example when it comes to living for God? Who do you pay special attention to and try to be like? Paul’s telling the Philippians that they need to purposefully follow someone. Someone that they can see up close and personal. Someone in their local church who’s further down the road with their walk with Jesus.


We can’t become more like Jesus by ourselves. We need living, breathing examples. Notice that I didn’t say perfect example, but people who want nothing more than to live each and every day for Jesus. These are the best examples for us to closely follow after and imitate.


Noodling Questions


  • Who have you identified as someone to follow their example? Why?

  • Why do we need examples that are here on Earth?

  • What’s stopping you from finding and following someone?

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