Philippians 3:17-21 (New Century Version)
17 Brothers and sisters, all of you should try to follow my example and to copy those who live the way we showed you.
18 Many people live like enemies of the cross of Christ. I have often told you about them, and it makes me cry to tell you about them now.19 In the end, they will be destroyed. They do whatever their bodies want, they are proud of their shameful acts, and they think only about earthly things.
20 But our homeland is in heaven, and we are waiting for our Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, to come from heaven. 21 By his power to rule all things, he will change our humble bodies and make them like his own glorious body.
It is hard to find anyone whose life we can hold up as a good character example these days. Just ask any parent whose child follows sport heroes, or someone that follows golf. There was a time that we could hold up our politicians as that "selfless" individual that stepped up to serve their nation, as was portrayed by Jimmy Stewart in "Mr. Smith Goes to Washington". Remember how we held up our President as someone that our children could aspire to imitate, like George Washington or Abraham Lincoln? Forget any television personality; we don't even want to go there. Where are we to go to find someone who is a worthy example for our children or us to imitate?
Paul the apostle wrote extensively on the character of Christ, and he often discussed how he struggled to be a worthy imitation of Jesus. The problem is that often we are trapped in trying to be accepted by the world, in order to be seen as one acceptable by the crowd. This is especially difficult for our young people who have to fight this battle daily in school. It is also tough on college students, who when they are away from Christian home and family often fall into the temptations of the world. For anyone that calls on the name of Jesus Christ, getting caught up in following after the world, can become a burden that is too difficult to carry.
The good news is that the only true character example for us to imitate is Jesus Christ. He is really the only example available that we can follow and please God. In our culture we see examples of believers following Christ, imitating him and reaching out intto the world around them. They are oftentimes humble people serving in our communities, churches and schools. They are the devoted servicemen and women who risk it all to follow a higher calling for their Nation. They are the lowly missionaries who step into the world to help the poor in spirit and sustenance. They are the leaders in every aspect of life that boldy profess their faith in Jesus to the culture and imitate him in everything they do.
In every corner of our world, those who imitate the character of Christ are loving and serving their fellowman in order to show a better way to live. They are our heroes and examples of godly character that we and our children can be encouraged to follow.