Imitate Me! It’s hard being a parent! Lack of sleep Ever changing schedule Not to mention the other things you need to change
Imitate Me! It’s a hard being a good parent! You are responsible for this dependant little person! You have been entrusted to care for and help shape this little person.
Imitate Me! Rob, Jennifer and I were talking about this this past week: You now have two little eyes drinking in all that you do. As they grow, they will quickly imitate what you say and do.
Imitate Me! But it gets more weighty: Our children get to know God through us as parents! Not just by what we say. But by what we do!
Imitate Me! Story of Dr. James Dobson’s toddler being asked to pray at the dinner table for the first time. [while he was away] “I love you Daddy. Amen” To that young child, his dad was God!
Imitate Me! Story of young man who couldn’t commit his life to God. He went through the pre- confession class He wanted to confess his faith but he always stopped short.
Imitate Me! I asked him what his picture of God was. He replied: “Someone who was always ready to trip him up.” “Someone who wanted him to fail and then punish him.”
Imitate Me! I wondered where in the Bible he would have gotten that idea of God. Then I realized that he hadn’t got his picture of God from the Bible but from his parents.
Imitate Me! “What was your relationship like with your father?” His dad made him feel worthless. He expected him to fail. And then he would rub his nose in his failures.
Imitate Me! His view of God was simply a magnification of his view of his dad! That was why he couldn’t believe in the loving God of the Bible! That was why he couldn’t commit his life to him!
Imitate Me! Like it or not, Our basic image of God is shaped by our parents in our formative years. Some would say, esp. by our dads. This image continues to be shaped by the Bible and our personal experiences of God.
Imitate Me! Stepping away from our parenting discussion Does this make sense to you? Does this possibly explain some things in your life? Why you feel distant from God?
Imitate Me! Woman who were abused by their fathers, often find it incredibly hard to trust in God, cringing when God is referred to as our Father.
Imitate Me! How about you? Do you find it hard to get close to God? Did you have a distant dad?
Imitate Me! Doesn’t all this make the our task as Christian parents all that more important?
Imitate Me! Christian parenting is not just - Passing on a few good morals - reading a few bible stories - sending them to Sunday School and Christian schools
Imitate Me! We represent God to our children! Our words and our actions impact how our children see God!
Imitate Me! This fits another biblical concept Being made in the image of God, we are to image God to the world.
Imitate Me! I Peter 2:9 “But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light.” “But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light.” I Peter 2:12 “Live such good lives among the pagans that, though they accuse you of doing wrong, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day he visits us.”
Imitate Me! We often see being the image of God or imaging God to others as related to representing Christ to our friends and neighbours. But it applies to our parenting.
Imitate Me! As Christian parents our primary task is to represent God to our children. - to assist in the spiritual development of our children - to lead them into a living relationship with Jesus.
Imitate Me! By now you and I may be squirming in our seats, thinking, “Me represent God to my kids?” “That’s too big a task.” “I’m not qualified for that.”
Imitate Me! Let’s look at our passage. Paul is in effect the spiritual father of the believers in Philippi He realizes that as young Christians they look to him as God’s representative.
Imitate Me! Paul says to them: “Join with others in following my example, brothers, and take note of those who live according to the pattern we gave you.” Phil 3:17 In other words: “Imitate me!”
Imitate Me! How many of us dare say to our kids, “Imitate me.” “Live like I live.” Or do we say, “Do as I say, not as I do.”
Imitate Me! Paul is not claiming to be perfect here. He says: Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already been made perfect, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. v.12 Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already been made perfect, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. v.12
Imitate Me! The Bible in not asking us to put on a false front, pretending to be perfect. Our kids see through that in a heart beat! Saying one thing and doing another is so damaging.
Imitate Me! The Bible is calling us to the way of discipleship. Hear Paul again: “Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already been made perfect, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me.” v. 12
Imitate Me! “Join with others in following my example, brothers, and take note of those who live according to the pattern we gave you.” v. 17 In effect Paul, as their spiritual father, is saying, “Follow me as I follow Jesus.”
Imitate Me! As imperfect as we are, we are to be living examples of fully devoted disciples of Jesus. fully devoted disciples of Jesus. That means, We need to be authentically learning from Jesus and living more and more like Jesus.
Imitate Me! All this can be very discouraging. Who can possibly do this? At least do it well? Nobody! Nobody on their own!
Imitate Me! To do this, we need God! I love the way Paul makes the contrast.
Imitate Me! “For, as I have often told you before and now say again even with tears, many live as enemies of the cross of Christ. Their destiny is destruction, their god is their stomach, and their glory is in their shame. Their mind is on earthly things. But our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ, who, by the power that enables him to bring everything under his control, will transform our lowly bodies so that they will be like his glorious body. vv. 18-21
Imitate Me! “Therefore, my dear friends, as you have always obeyed—not only in my presence, but now much more in my absence—continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you to will and to act according to his good purpose.” Philippines 2:12-13
Imitate Me! Parenting is an important task. Our children will learn about God through us. Our children will imitate us. Let’s have them imitate us imitating Christ, depending on God.