"I urge you then, be imitators of me" (1 Corinthians 4:16).
One night after dinner as my wife and I were cleaning the kitchen together (and yes, I do help clean the kitchen), I turned around and looked at my oldest son, who was six at the time. I asked him, "what are you doing?" He said, "Hi, I'm Pastor Chris!" He was wearing my suit jacket, a tie of mine he found in the closet (those rare occasions that I do wear a tie), and was in my size twelve dress shoes. He said, "I want to be like Daddy." Now that we've had our 'awwwwe...how cute moment,' let's allow the powerful truths of such an impacting moment to set in. No matter what we do, there are people that are watching us, learning from us, and imitating us. What they see is a reflection of who we are.
It is essential and key to have good examples in our lives, and in turn, to be an example that is worthy of being followed. Popular Christian leadership author, John Maxwell, packages this idea in a 'must-remember' simple definition of leadership. "Leadership is influence - nothing more, nothing less." Everyone is a leader. Everyone influences someone. The question everyone has to answer is whether or not they are leading by and leaving an example worth following.
Each morning you wake up, stumble to the bathroom, and at some point in time, you brave yourself enough to look into the mirror. Who is looking back at you? Quickly we respond with, "well, of course it's me looking back." If you are satisfied with that answer, then the focus of your influence on others will be that they look like you. We must understand that we are inadequate, but there is One who is greater, One in which will only increase in our lives as we decrease. You were not called to be the best looking "you" that you can be. You were called to be a reflection of Jesus. It's not you that is to live, but Christ that lives within you.
This is a pledge that we must faithfully make each day. A pledge that declares: "I will live in a way that will honor God as someone else follows my example." Our desire is to be able to, with great integrity, speak loud with our everyday lives to "be imitators of me." "Follow me in my work ethic, my marriage, my parenting, and most importantly, my relationship with Jesus." So, when you look in the mirror, are you seeing less of you and more of Him?