The more I learn about John Chrysostom (for my Church History assignment), the more I am learning what an amazing man he was. We would do well to imitate him.
He who praises a holy man ought to imitate him, and if he be not ready to imitate him he ought not to praise him. He who praises another should make himself worthy of like praise, and he who admires the saints should himself become worthy of admiration for the holiness of his life. If we love those who are good and faithful because of their goodness and faithfulness, we may become such as they are if we do as they do. And it is less difficult thus to imitate them if we notice what was achieved by men of ancient times, who had no example before their eyes yet nevertheless became examples for us, following whom we may inspire others, so that the Lord Christ may ever be glorified in his servants. From the beginning of the world innocent Abel was slain, Enoch who please God was taken away, Noah was found righteous, Abraham faithful, Moses long-suffering, Joshua was chaste, David gentle, Daniel holy, Elijah was taken up into Heaven and the Three Young Men had the victory. The apostles, the followers of Christ, are the teachers of them that believe, the valiant confessors go forth to battle, the martyrs triumph, and the Christian hosts, made strong by God, never cease to prevail against the Evil One; whatever their different trials, all these have been equally brave and equally victorious. Therefore, Christian man, you are but a poor soldier of Christ if you think you can overcome without fighting and suppose that you can have the crown without the contest.
This was taken from one of Chrysostom’s homilies on the martyrs. He was relentless in his pursuit of Christ’s character, values, truth & life. He was direct in his pursuits, not concerned with coating truth in “honey” to make it a little easier to swallow. Imitate him as he imitated Christ. It is my prayer that we will all be more like Christ through imitating people like John Chrysostom.