Wednesday, June 20, 2018

Example for Others, Part 2

Chuckle: Exhausted hiker: “I am so glad to see you! I’ve been lost for three days!” Other hiker: “Well, don’t get too excited. I’ve been lost for a week.”
Quote: “The first great gift we can bestow on others is a good example.” --Thomas Morell
"Be imitators of God, therefore, as dearly loved children and live a life of love, just as Christ loved us" (Ephesians 5:1 NIV).
Think back over your life and recount all the people whose lives have served as examples for you: parents, grandparents, teachers, pastors, deacons, etc. Some may have been wholesome examples and others may have been the opposite. In all cases, it was ultimately your decisions about which examples you would imitate and whose values you would incorporate into your life. From the Bible, we find many examples available to us:
God Himself: God's purpose for our salvation is to lead us to imitate His character. He is revealed as having a pure, self-giving, self-sacrificing, and unconditional love for each of us. Thus His example is the way we should relate to one another -- Always loving and forgiving. Living a pure and holy life. "I am the Lord your God; consecrate yourselves and be holy because I am holy" (Leviticus 11:44 NIV).
Jesus Christ: "I have set you an example that you should do as I have done for you" (John 13:15 NIV). Along with His teachings, Jesus' life was an essential part of his message to us and his example gave even greater credibility to his words. He never told us to do anything he had not modeled for us. He lived a sinless life. As a servant, he demonstrated sacrificial service. He modeled godly service by humbling himself to wash the feet of His disciples (John 13), and by saying he didn't come to be served but to serve (Matthew 20:28). Because Christ suffered for you . . . .leaving you an example, that you should follow in His footsteps" (I Peter 2:21 NIV).
Bible Characters: They served as both good and bad examples. Some of them made serious blunders, and their examples show us things to avoid; like letting things of the world creep into our lives such as materialism, greed, idolatry, sexual misconduct, etc. "Now these things occurred as examples to keep us from setting our hearts on evil things as they did" (I Corinthians 10:6 NIV). "These things happened to them as examples and were written down as warnings for us . .” (I Corinthians 10:11 NIV)
People you know: There are many godly people around us whose lives reflect their devotion to their Lord and serve as great examples for us. We are wise to seek them out and let them inspire us to become more like Jesus. The apostle Paul recognized his responsibility as an example to others and said: "Follow my example as I follow the example of Christ." (I Corinthians 11:1 NIV). ". . . imitate those who through faith and patience inherit what has been promised." (Hebrews 6:12 NIV). The apostle John wrote: "Dear friend, do not imitate what is evil but what is good" (3 John 11 NIV).
One final thought. As helpful as wholesome examples are, we should never follow the example of another person blindly, or use another person as our only standard for holy living. We should measure our lives only against the standard of Jesus himself and the teachings of God's Word.
Love, Jerry & Dotse


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