Finally, then, brothers, we ask and urge you in the Lord Jesus, that as you received from us how you ought to walk and to please God, just as you are doing, that you do so more and more.1 Thessalonians 4:1
Like most boys, I didn’t grow up playing with dolls but with action figures. My favorite was GI Joe. Like girls looked to Barbie to act out their futures, so us boys used Joe to go to war, to save the world, and to conquer the dirt mound. But in 1984, the brand took a hit because of the Cold War so Hasbro writer Larry Hama created a groundbreaking comic book. Why was it ground breaking? Because it had no dialogue. Their main consumer were boys so they thought, “who needs words when actions say it all?” Silent Interlude rocked the toy world and made boys go crazy again for their beloved action figures. After “reading” the comic books kids knew just what to do with their stash of Joes. They reenacted every scene, they fought ninjas and broke into fortresses, just like they had seen their hero do.
So is it any surprise that Paul encourages his readers to imitate him? The church had seen Paul in action. They had heard stories of this life as a Pharisee and they had seen him go from a persecutor of the church to a leader. Growth involves mimicry. As children we learn to walk and even gain the desire to walk because we see others doing it. The same with language, we learn it because we mimic our parents. And in faith we learn to faithfully grow by watching others do the same thing. Paul is our example of faith. His devotion to God is evident in all he said and did, and today we can look at his life as an example of growth. And this is seen no better than in his confession of sin. In his own words he graduated from the worst of the apostles to the worst of sinners by the end of his life, not because he was getting more sinful, but because he was recognizing God’s faithfulness more and more and by comparison his own failure to be perfect. By way of example this should spur us on not to fear confession of sin, but to embrace it as the road to forgiveness and to faithfulness. Today and every day don’t look to hide your sin from others and yourself, but to quickly spot them and to say, “I agree with God, this is not faithfulness and I don’t want it anymore.”
Questions to ponder
Who is/was a character (or real life person) you liked to pretend to be when you would play? Why?
Who is a good example for you in regards to faithfulness that you would like to grow to be?
What is something that you need to confess that will help you grow to be more faithful?