Imitating the Faith


Remember those who led you, who spoke the word of God to you; and considering the result of their conduct, imitate their faith.
(Hebrews 13:7 NASB)



There were those who had paid a great price to share the faith of Jesus Christ with these believers. Many had given up everything that they had to spread the gospel around the world and as a result many had come to faith in Christ. There was to be appreciation for those who had gone before, and not just appreciation, but those who came after them were to learn from them and to live lives in which their faith was imitated. Those who had gone before provided a pattern for those who lived today.



I'm afraid that we live in a day when we don't place a lot of value on those who have gone before. We often act as if it doesn't matter that there are those who have paid the price for what we have. In recent conversations with a group of friends they noted that young African-Americans really have no interest in learning about the Civil-Rights movement, and young women have no interest in hearing about suffrage. In their minds these battles were fought but have little to do with them. They have had to fight very few battles and cannot imagine what it cost for them to have their freedom. At the same time there are radical changes within the life of the church. Many in our world today have no appreciation of what it has cost others to have religious freedom. Even within denominations, the younger generations are not interested in the sacrifices which were made over personal beliefs and faith. Sadly, we may be losing some of what the writer to the Hebrews is encouraging. There are heroes of the faith who have gone on before us and there is value in looking at them and studying them so that we can imitate them. If we refuse to look at those who have gone before us, we will simply make the same mistakes that humanity has made over and over again.

Within my own church tradition there are those who have paid a price for me to enjoy living out my faith. I think of those in earlier generations who would mortgage their homes to build a church building in a neighborhood so that children could learn about God. Would people do that today? I think of my grandfather who literally built churches with his own two hands; and his wife, my grandmother, who lived with almost nothing so that they could minister and lead others to Christ. The church which I am privileged to serve has been built on the blood and sweat of people like my grandparents who gave up nearly everything they had so that those around them and future generations could have a personal relationship with Christ. Am I willing to walk away from that because I want to find something that I like better, or that better fits my personal tastes? Can I truly say that I don't want to be a part of something that cost those who went before me so much, or am I willing to appreciate what was done for me, and also pay the price for the future? Am I willing to imitate the faith? For me, personally, the bar has been set high! I have a heritage of parents and grandparents who were wholehearted servants of Jesus Christ and who invested in me. I want to imitate them! I consider the result of their conduct -- and the result is good. Why would I not want that in my own life?



Lord, thank you for the heritage which I have been privileged to enjoy. Please, help me to continue that line of faithfulness in service to you, and help me to imitate those who have gone before me. Amen.


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