Being an Example
“Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me — put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.” – Philippians 4:9
How can you be an example of the Christian life?
There are many ways we teach the Christian faith to others, whether we are talking about our children, people we are mentoring/discipling, or just people we are around. Typically, we think about the things we say to intentionally try to educate.
- You tell your child not to steal.
- You talk to your friend about Jesus.
- You meet with someone you are discipling and tell them about some theological or moral topic.
There is another way we teach which can speak much louder than these intentional education sessions…How we act. If I tell my child to be kind to others, but then do not demonstrate that in how I interact with others, my child will likely not learn to be kind, quite the opposite. Again, this is not just in the parent/child relationship, but any relationship. We need to consider…
HOW can you be an example of the Christian life?
It’s actually not all that hard of a concept. Just do what God says. Love your neighbor. Don’t steal. Don’t covet. Build others up. Be patient. Don’t be selfish. Etc. This is what James is pointing out in James 1,
“But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man who looks intently at his natural face in a mirror. For he looks at himself and goes away and at once forgets what he was like.” – James 1:22-24
Of course, this is easier said (or written) than done which may lead to the question,
How can YOU be an example of the Christian life?
Personally, I think this is where we get the best opportunity to be an example of the Christian life. You won’t be a perfect example of following God’s Law. You are going to sin. So, what will you do about it?
I hope you will confess and repent and then accept God’s forgiveness and possibly the forgiveness of someone else if you sinned against someone else. This is being a great example! I’m not advocating that you sin so you can demonstrate repentance. I’m saying that we all do sin even as we try to follow God’s law, so we have many opportunities to demonstrate repentance and experience God’s grace.
Think about it. Who are you being an example to? I don’t know the person is that you are thinking of, but I do know that they are a sinner. So, they need, maybe more than anything else, to see the example of someone responding to their sin with repentance and then see God’s grace and forgiveness in action.
The life of a Christian is a life of repentance.
Let us do our best to exemplify the ways of God according to His law, but let us also exemplify a life of repentance.
I pray that all the ways of my life would be an example to others to the glory of Your Name, but I confess that I am a sinner. Please forgive me and renew me and help me to always turn to You in repentance and, in so doing, not only receive Your grace and mercy but also be an example to sinners everywhere of how to deal with their sin that they, too, may receive Your grace and mercy.
In Christ’s Service,