I wonder if any one of us could say, with the same confidence as Paul, this statement: “I beg you to be like me.” Paul was a committed follower of Jesus – so much so that he ached and longed for others to embrace a life of grace, just as he had. “My children, I am in terrible pain until Christ may be seen living in you.” Paul was referring to the same pain as childbirth. In other words, he was laboring and working hard to give spiritual birth to those that would become like Jesus.
If you are a person who has experienced a transformed life in Jesus, as if you have been born again by grace through the Spirit, then you likely feel and resonate with the travail of Paul. Knowing the elixir of grace, you want everyone to drink it in and be inebriated with its effects. You want it so bad that it hurts. You desire it to the point of exclaiming, “I beg you to be like me!”
You may be spending the upcoming Christmas with some family or friends that are strangers to grace. Either they are stuck in the clutches of the law and are complete stick-in-the-muds because of it, or they simply do not know what they are missing. Either way, let’s together offer our passionate prayers to God for the grace of Jesus to overwhelm us all. Like old Ebenezer Scrooge, perhaps grace will change everything.
Gracious God, may you weave your way into the lives of those who need you the most, so that mercy will be more than a theological idea. Work in me in such a way that I can stand with Paul and encourage others to be like me. Amen.