Octavius Winslow on Following Christ’s Example

Pastor Tom Ascol is always raving about how good Octavius Winslow’s Morning and Evening Devotions are, so I decided I should read them for myself.

Today’s morning devotion just happens to be on John 13:15, “For I have given you an example, that you should do as I have done to you.”

After noting Matt. 11, Rom. 15, and Phil. 2 as places the Bible calls us to follow Christ’s example, Winslow has come lucid applications:

  • Look not every man on his own circle, his own family, his own gifts, his own interests, comfort, and happiness; upon his own Church, his own community, his own minister. Let him not look upon these exclusively.
  • Let him not prefer his own advantage to the public good.
  • Let him not be self-willed in matters involving the peace and comfort of others.
  • Let him not forLm favorite theories, or individual opinions, to the hazard of a Church’s prosperity or of a family’s happiness.
  • Let him yield, sacrifice, and give place, rather than carry a point to the detriment of others.
  • Let him, with a generous, magnanimous, disinterested spirit, in all things imitate Jesus, who “pleased not Himself.”
  • Let him seek the good of others, honoring their gifts, respecting their opinions, nobly yielding when they correct and overrule his own.
  • Let him promote the peace of the Church, consult the honor of Christ, and seek the glory of God, above and beyond all private and selfish ends.

He explains in closing:

This is to be conformed to the image of God’s dear Son, to which high calling we are predestinated; and in any feature of resemblance which the Holy Spirit brings out in the holy life of a follower of the Lamb, Christ is thereby glorified before men and angels.

I found it especially helpful that Winslow points out the danger of forming one’s own opinions and doctrines. “Let him not form favorite theories, or individual opinions, to the hazard of a Church’s prosperity or of a family’s happiness,” he writes. It is for lack of following Christ that people come up with hazardous doctrines. It is their failure to submit themselves to His own Word that allows their minds to invent false teachings.

And it is our job as His followers to follow Him in life and thought, teaching what He teaches and protecting those whom He protects.


About B Treece
loved by God before I ever loved Him, saved by grace alone through faith alone in Christ alone by the authority of the Bible alone to the glory of God alone, made to enjoy Him forever, happily married with wonder-filled children.

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