I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. Philippians 3:14
As a father to the Corinthians, Paul said, “I exhort you therefore, be imitators of me” (1 Corinthians 4:16). He added, “Be imitators of me, just as I also am of Christ” (11:1). How different this is from what Jesus said of the scribes and Pharisees—“Do not do according to their deeds; for they say things and do not do them” (Matthew 23:3). When children see a discrepancy between what they hear from their parents and what they see in their parents, generation gaps are created. Paul said, “For this reason I have sent to you Timothy” (1 Corinthians 4:17). Paul sent Timothy so they could see Timothy’s example, which was after Paul’s example, which was after Christ’s example. And the examples have been passed down over the centuries: models of humility, self-forgetfulness, consecration to the Lord, courage in the faith.
Example is key. Our spiritual children must be shown how to live; they can’t merely follow a definition in a book. But I know what you’re thinking: “Who am I for someone to follow?”
Remember that Paul knew himself to be “the worst of sinners” (1 Timothy 1:16); “I know that nothing good dwells in me” (Romans 7:18). Paul’s attitude was this: “Not that I…have already become perfect, but I press on…forgetting what lies behind and reaching forward to what lies ahead” (Philippians 3:12-13). He added, “The things you have learned and received and heard and seen in me, practice these things” (4:9). The model is the pressing one.