17 Join together in following my example, brothers and sisters, and just as you have us as a model, keep your eyes on those who live as we do.
What audacity, Paul saying to follow him as an example. He says that he is their model! Furthermore he says for them to keep their eyes on him and others who live like him. Who in their right minds could say something like this?! We are definitely not supposed to say things like that… Right?
Well, let’s remember Paul has been directing these Philippians towards sanctification up to this point. He has been pointing to areas in their life that they are likely living in accordance to what they have been taught their whole lives. In that he has called them to make those radical changes we have been talking about. This is what he wants them to follow. He wants them to look at his life and notice how he is trying, through the Spirit, to follow God’s commands at changing his christian life. Obviously Paul wasn’t asking them to do every single thing he is doing. If that were the case you’d have a huge line of people going where he was going etc. No, instead he is referring to the topic at hand: sanctification.
Paul has been living in a way that is striving after sanctification and now is asking the Philippians to do the same. This is how we should be living. We should be able to say to other believers who are struggling: this is how I apply that. Not “this is what I think it means,” that holds no power. We have to press past that intellectual grasping of the Word and move into the application. In that application we are able to say “this is how I DO it.”
Are you living in a way that you can have others look at your life when they are looking to learn? Are you living in a way that you can say “I think this is how the Gospel is displayed in that area.” Or are you still back in chapter 2? Are you living as a model or are you still stuck living in selfish ambition and vein conceit? Your friends are watching. Your children are watching. You are a role model whether you’ve been doing it right or wrong.
Lord, help me to yield to the Spirit. Keep me from being overly distracted by my selfish ambition, rather help me to make these changes so that I can be a proper image of Christ for others. Help me to realize how important it is that I apply Your Word to my life. Keep me desiring to hear you speak and change. Keep me aware of how my life is effecting others. Let me not forsake the ability to be a GOOD example for others. Amen.
Go out and be an example. Start to check out your life and see what you’re doing that is portraying a poor image of the christian life. Furthermore, look into your close friends. Make them aware of this passage and the necessity to be an example for others. Work together with them and look at what, in your lives, is keeping you from making a positive change in other’s lives.