1 Corinthians 11:1 (NKJV)
Have you ever seen someone do an imitation of another person? Maybe they did their impersonation of some celebrity from a television show or a movie, it might even have been a politician, an athlete, or just some local person that everyone knows. When that person did their imitation, the way you recognized who they were imitating was in the way they talked, what they said, and how they behaved. If the person doing the imitation did not sound like the person or act like the person that they were imitating, then it was not really an imitation at all.
The Bible talks about Christians imitating God like a child would imitate their parent (Ephesians 5:1). Paul told people to imitate him just like he imitated Christ. The word "imitate" that Paul used is the Greek word for "follow". In 2 Timothy 3:10 Paul mentioned to Timothy that Timothy knew Paul's teaching and way of life. Once again Paul is showing that he was an example that others could follow. Paul was a spiritual leader who understood that other people need examples to follow, people need to be able to see someone who is a pattern of how to live a godly life.
Christians would agree that Jesus and even Paul are great examples for us, but neither Jesus or Paul are with us on the earth today. So while we can read about them and learn from them in that way we don't have their example for us to see and learn from and we can't ask them questions. All of us need some good examples of what it means to live the Christians life, how we should talk and how we should live. Each of us should also be a good example that others can follow. If we said what Paul did, imitate me as I imitate Christ, would we be a good pattern for others to follow? If not, what changes do we need to make to become that example that others can follow?