In Philippians 3:17, Paul commands us to imitate him. What are we to imitate about Paul? We are to imitate his mindset and actions. Paul’s letter to the Philippians gives us a good picture of who Paul is, how he thinks, and what he does. So let’s look at Paul’s minset and actions up to this point in the letter. In doing so, we will see 10 ways to imitate the godly.
10 Ways to Imitate the Godly
(1) Paul constantly and fervently prays for others (1:1-11)
- He thanks God for the salvation and growth of the Philippians. As well as he prays for the Philippians growth and perseverance.
(2) Paul proclaims the gospel (1:12)
- He knows the gospel is the only means to renewal and restoration, so he relentlessly and continually proclaims the gospel, even in jail.
(3) Paul’s all consuming passion is to glorify Christ (1:12-30)
- He doesn’t care what happens to him as long as the gospel is proclaimed he rejoices, which is why he can rejoice even when he is in jail, beaten, or killed for the gospel.
(4) Paul holds others accountable (2:2;14)
- He rebukes the Philippians of their disunity, urging them to be unified with one another.
(5) Paul takes up the mindset of Christ (2:5-11)
- He humbles himself, counts others more significant than himself, looks out for the interests of others, and he takes up the Father’s will for his life.
(6) Paul knows God is the One who empowers him to work in the Christian life (2:12-13)
- He does not seek to live in a manner worthy of the gospel in his own power. He recognizes God is the one who empowers him, which keeps Paul humble and not prideful, and it also keeps him from becoming discouraged and quitting.
(7) Paul watches out for others souls (3:2)
- He warns the Philippians of the dogs in their midst, taking care to inform them of their behavior and their error, so they will not be deceived.
(8) Paul sees the gospel as the only means of salvation (3:2-9)
- He does not trust in his own achievements. Instead he sees his achievements as rubbish, and he counts everything he ever gained as a Pharisee loss for the sake of knowing Christ.
(9) Paul doesn’t believe he has arrived (3:12-13)
- He knows that he still has room to grow, knowing that he does not fully know Christ yet.
(10) Paul strives and strains forward to Christ (3:12;14)
- He keeps his eye on the prize, removing all distractions. He does not allow others to beat him into submission. He is constantly moving forward towards Christ, constantly straining forward.
That is the picture we get of Paul so far in Philippians, and those are the qualities and actions we should imitate. Second to Jesus Christ, he is to be our guide as to how we are to think and live because he reflects Christ.
Questions for Reflection
- Does your life resemble Paul’s?
- Is your life one that someone could imitate?
- Do you know that if your life does not resemble Paul’s, the Holy Spirit will empower you to grow in your Christian walk, so you don’t have to despair or beat yourself up.
- Do you believe all Christians should strive to imitate Paul, or do you think living sold out for Christ is reserved for the super Christian?