A. Brother

“Follow my example,
as I follow the example of Christ.”
1 Cor. 10:33

This simple statement by Paul gives us the standard of true leadership within the Body of Christ.  The people of God must be led by those who follow Christ’s example.

With this statement, Paul is capping off a long section of instruction, and explanation of why he does what he does in his ministry. 

Starting in chapter 9, he teaches us that even though we have rights, (for instance the right to earn a living from the gospel if we preach the gospel), we have the privilege of giving up our rights for Christ. (9:11,12)

Even though he is a free man in Christ, and is the slave of no other man, he willingly gives up those rights to relate to Jews, to lawkeepers, to the Gentiles, to the weak.  He will mirror those people, and live within their comfort zones, in order to win them.  (9:19-23)  Mind you, he does not compromise the truth of the gospel, but he sets aside his personal preferences in order to bring the Word of God to them.

Paul continually threw himself into the battle for Christ’s truth, regardless of the personal consequences.  Like Christ, Paul told the truth, no matter the cost.  This cost him dearly, as many felt free to criticize and judge him throughout his ministry because he was so “radical” and didn’t tone down what he said or did.  He always cared more about others than he did himself, and did everything so that they could be saved. (10:23,24)

He gave us in these passages the true identifying marks of leadership in Christ. 

The leader is like Christ, in the sense he must give up all he is and has, all his rights and privileges, in order to preach Christ and bring Christ to others.  He must not be rigid in the non-essentials, but be willing to become like a people to win a people.  He must do everything with others in mind, giving up his own preferences in order not to offend those with more sensitive spiritual stomachs. (10:31-33)

In all, like Christ, he must give up his own life for his brethren.  As Jesus taught us in John 15, we must give up all we are and be willing to lay down our lives for our brothers, so that they may be saved.  This is what Paul taught, and how he lived.

Today, we must demand of ourselves this same standard of leadership. 

Oh, Father, in Christ Jesus we ask you to raise us up as leaders that emulate Christ in every way.  Please give us the full measure of the Spirit of Jesus so that we will be like Him as we seek to show others who He is.  May we give up our rights and our privileges as He did, may we lay down our lives as He did, all for others.  May we follow Paul’s example, as he follows Christ, and may others learn from us as we learn from our Lord and Master on the narrow road today.


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