Friday, June 12, 2015

Example for Others, Part 1

Chuckle: "What do you want to be when you grow up?" asked the visitor of his host's teenage son. "I want to be possible," he replied. "Possible?" asked the visitor. "Yes," said the boy. "Every day somebody tells me I'm impossible."
Quote: “Example moves the world more than doctrine." --Henry Miller
"Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already been made perfect (mature), but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. Brothers, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it, but one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus." (Philippians 3:12-14 NIV).
My Bible Encyclopedia says an example is "a typical representative, or illustrative case; a pattern or model for imitation. A good example is one which, if followed, would result in the building of Christian character in the one following the example. It’s similar to an illustration -- how a Christian should live." God wants each of us to be a living example for others.
"As a boy, Dr. John Mitchell was familiar with the mountains and mine pits around his house. One night his Boy Scout troop was on a midnight hike. Since Mitchell knew the mountains and where the dangerous pits were, he took several private jaunts away from the troop. The Scoutmaster admonished him, saying, 'Although you know where the mine pits are and how to avoid them, when you go to them you make a path that others may follow to their death.'"  Illustrations for Biblical Preaching; Edited by Michael P. Green
As followers of Christ, we teach by example, whether we intend to or not! Never should we underestimate the importance of being a Christian example because we learn much from examples. In Philippians 3:17 and I Corinthians 4:16, the Apostle Paul tells fellow Christians, and us, to follow his example in the way we live. Was he being arrogant and self-righteous by setting himself up as an example for others to follow? I don't think so. Please read our basic passage again and then consider what Paul said in verse 17: "Join with others in following my example, brothers, and take note of those who live according to the pattern we gave you."
Paul's example that he wanted the Philippian church to follow was his relentless pursuit of Christian character - not that he was perfect. However, he was living so close to the Lord that he knew his life was what God wanted and expected. Have you ever heard the expression: "I can't hear what you are saying because your actions are speaking so loudly?" Or, "Actions speak louder than words."
The way we live will either add credibility to or detract from our Christian witness. We are either a positive or negative influence for our Lord. We are either a good or bad example for others. There is no neutral position. Is your life the kind of example you would want your children, grandchildren, or others to follow? Or, more importantly, is your life the example our Lord wants you to be? Are you striving to be more like Jesus each day?
Love, Jerry & Dotse


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