Today’s Deeply Rooted Devotion is from 2 Thessalonians 1-3
“For you yourselves know how you ought to imitate us, because we were not idle When we were there with you.” 2 Thessalonians 3:7
“…but to give you in ourselves an example to imitate.” 2 Thessalonians 3:9
Paul uses his second letter to the Thessalonians as a way to challenge and encourage the church to hold others accountable in their pursuit of Jesus. Over the course of my life there have been a few men who have really taken me under their wing to disciple me. One in particular, during my college years, taught me about Christ’s love and how to love others. Specifically how to love my wife (who I was dating at the time). I could have learned the principles he was teaching me in a classroom or a sermon, but not like I learned them when he decided to spend time with me. He had me in his home. I saw how he loved his wife. We read books and Scripture together and talked about it in the context of life. It’s hard to disciple someone you don’t know and it’s hard to know someone unless you spend time with them.
Paul ends the letter with discipleship on his mind. Discipleship can be, and has been, defined many ways. It’s simply one follower of Jesus spending intentional time with others to provide help, encouragement, and accountability in pursuing Jesus. In discipleship you pursue Jesus together. Discipleship is life on life. Paul knew the Thessalonians and they knew him. Because they knew each other, he was able to tell them that he was an example for them to imitate in work ethic, holiness, and discipleship.
I’m challenged this morning to be an example worth imitating. It’s not about us. It’s about echoing Paul in 1 Corinthians 1:11, “imitate me as I imitate Christ.”
Nobody’s perfect, but are you ready for others to imitate you as you imitate Christ? Are you an example for Jesus to those around you in word and deed?