“The things which you learned and received and heard and saw in me, these do, and the God of peace will be with you.”—Philippians 4:9 (NKJV)
Prassete: To do, perform, accomplish, put into practice; to commit to doing; the active process in performing (accomplishing) a deed, and implying what is done as a regular practice—i.e. a routine or habit.
Continuing his wrap-up on how to stand fast in the Lord, here the apostle Paul gives the Philippians the simplest piece of advice: imitate him. He tells them that everything they saw from the apostle in his time with them, everything they heard him say, everything he taught them, and all they’d gleaned from his correspondence with them, these are the things they should make a habit out of. As you know, Paul considered himself like a father to the churches he ministered to and led. And children always imitate their parents. Often, when children grow up, they become eerily similar to their parents in behavior, philosophies, mannerisms, even the way they speak. This is what Paul instructed his spiritual children to do.
Similarly, in 1 Corinthians 4, Paul urged the Corinthians to imitate him much like he told the Philippians here. But why should they model their habits after Paul, commit to imitating, and put into practice all that they saw, learned, and heard from him? The answer is found in 1 Corinthians 11:1 (ESV), where Paul says, “Be imitators of me, as I am of Christ.” You see, in everything, Paul sought to imitate Christ, to put into practice everything he saw, heard, and learned from Jesus. He imitated Christ, who Himself was imitating His Father (John 5:19).
The lesson here is on the importance of mentorship and discipleship. It’s finding someone like Paul in your life, someone who exemplifies what it means, looks like, and sounds like to be a Christ-follower; someone who reflects Jesus. And it’s also an exhortation for us to be able to provide that example and discipleship into the lives of those around us.
1. What is Paul’s invitation here and why is he offering it?
2. Examples are important. Who is modeling for you the Christian life and how is he or she doing that?