Keep Your Eyes on Me
Read Philippians 3:17 (ESV)
Brothers, join in imitating me, and keep your eyes on those who walk according to the example you have in us.
Why do Christians need to be careful about who they watch?
My wife and I try to pay attention to who our boys are looking up to. They have plenty of choices for role models today. It could be famous athletes, musicians, movie stars, and nowadays, even YouTubers. Or, they might look up to family members, older friends, or even their peers. We know that who they are watching is important because, more than likely, they will imitate who they watch.
If you’ve ever watched young children, you know this is true. My friend’s one-year-old son was watching his parents snap their fingers. He was so intrigued that he looked at his hands, looked back at his parents snapping, looked back at his fingers, and tried to make his finger move like that. He couldn’t take his eyes off their snapping fingers because he wanted so badly to imitate them.
In today’s verse, Paul emphasizes the importance of godly examples. He knew that if his readers didn’t have godly role models, they would be in danger of patterning their lives like the rest of the fallen world. Paul has repeatedly stressed that they should keep an eye out for false teachers but keep their eyes on people who are living godly lives.
This week, we have established that no one is righteous because of their works or lifestyle. No one has reached perfection yet! Jesus is the only perfect example and Paul does say that we should be imitators of God as His beloved children (Ephesians 5:1).
But in our humanness, we can easily become discouraged. After all, Jesus was perfect! No matter how hard we try we repeatedly fall short of His standard. That’s why it is incredibly beneficial for us to keep our eyes on more mature Christians who are seeking to live godly lives. They are farther down the road in their pursuit of imitating Christ. They remind us that sanctification is a process. We can see where they started compared with where they are now. When we look at godly humans like Paul, we see examples of how to pursue holiness in the midst of our struggles with sin.
Friends, who you keep your eyes on matters. You will find yourself copying the behaviors of those you study. Look first to Jesus. Christlikeness is what we are aiming for! But when you need encouragement for the journey, look to those who “walk according to the example” of Paul and the apostles. Find a mature Christian who can serve as a godly role model to you and keep your eyes on them!
Jesus, when I look at You, I see Your holiness. You are the perfect example and I want to imitate You. But I stumble and fall short. Give me discernment and help me to identify a godly believer faithfully walking with You that I can watch for encouragement and guidance. Amen.