Someone once said that everyone should be mentored by someone and likewise mentor someone else. Paul had lived with the Corinthians for eighteen months, founding their church and discipling the first believers. He was willing to pay any human price to bring people to Christ (1 Cor 9:19–-23). They knew his commitment, and in 1 Corinthians 11:1 he calls them to follow his example.
When Paul wrote about doing “all to the glory of God” (1 Cor 10:31), they knew he lived to glorify God, not himself. They saw how he gave up his rights to eat and drink certain things so as not to offend different cultures or distract from the message of the gospel. If people were going to be upset, he wanted it be the offense of the gospel, not his own idiosyncrasies.
They saw how he, like Jesus, “emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond–servant” and how he “humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death” (Phil 2:7–-8).
Paul considered it a vital part of Christian maturity to be a mentor, exemplifying the principles and commands of Christ. His goal was to seek the good in others—-the basic concept of love. In this regard, Paul gave the command to “imitate” him. He wrote, “For even if you had ten thousand others to teach you about Christ, you have only one spiritual father. For I became your father in Christ Jesus when I preached the Good News to you. So I ask you to follow my example and do as I do” (1 Cor 4:14–-16NLT).
Having a mentor was the norm for individuals and churches. To the Thessalonians he wrote, “You became followers of us and of the Lord, having received the word in much affliction, with joy of the Holy Spirit, so that you became examples to all in Macedonia and Achaia who believe.” Paul lived daily to bring others to Christ, and every decision was made to facilitate this goal.
He was not being boastful or proud, because he knew he was not perfect—-nor did he pretend to be (Phil 3:12). He was quick to admit his failures as he laid down the principles he was striving to live by (3:13). Paul took seriously the commands and teachings of Jesus, and this is the attitude he asked all believers to develop. Who is the leader in your life that most models Jesus’s life?
“Lord, thank You for the godly leaders You have placed in my life. They challenge me to walk with You daily.”