Paul writes from prison. Getting a letter from prison from someone you love who is imprisoned for their faith is like… well, For example, my water heater busted this week. Of course we had no water for a time while a new one was installed. We take for granted the water we use every day. When we don’t have it, it’s scary. I feel dry. I feel I’m lacking and I have to stop and think more about how to do things. Paul was in prison. Their leader was gone. I’m sure getting a letter from him was much greater than having our water turned back on!
When we have a good leader we feel at ease just like when we have our running water to depend on. With Paul in prison the churches probably felt like their water was shut off. Paul’s words to the believers here are to remember what he’s taught them and for them to keep doing what they’ve learned.
Other versions put it this way:
“9 Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice.” NIV.
Be like me. Wow, that’s a large mantle of leadership when you instruct people to be like you. Paul was striving to be like Jesus. He traveled around planting churches, preaching and sharing the Gospel. Paul endured great hardships and remained so firm in his faith. From his prison cell Paul is still instructing the followers of Jesus. As a leader in the faith we should live our lives in such a way that we too can say, “be like me.” When we are striving to live a life of faith, “being like me,” should come as close as we can to being like Jesus. The bar is high. Let’s all strive to be like Jesus so much that we can say to each other, “be like me.”
We are all leading someone whether we recognize it or not. We lead people towards or away from God. Let’s live in such a way that we feel ok saying, “be like me.”