Yesterday I looked at this subject “setting a good example”. I said people follow our example, and learn from it. It can be a good or bad example.
Sir Bob Geldolf has been recognized for his humanitarian efforts and ability to raise millions of dollars to help suffering mankind. He was once asked why he was doing so much for the people of Africa. Why was he planning another charity concert? Here’s what he said “I know I have been given a gift. I might not be the greatest singer in the world, but I certainly had the gift of opportunity, and I have had the gift of being with a good band and having a couple of good songs. Surely, if I have been given those gifts, do I not have a responsibility to use them, not just for myself, but for someone else?” I think that’s an impressive response, don’t you? God has given each of us opportunities to help others and to serve Him in many different ways. And in so doing we are leaving behind a good example.
I said yesterday that Timothy from the New Testament was a young man on a mission for the church who was being given good advice by an older Paul. He said “don’t let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in life, in love, in faith and in purity” (1 Timothy 4:12) . The Bible is full of information on how to live, and as such it contains the ‘words of life’. Our constant prayer should be: Psalm 25:4 “Make me to know your ways, O Lord; teach me your paths”. You might think of Timothy as a young graduate! He had been training under the Apostle Paul. Paul has left him in Ephesus to help put things in order in the church there. There were tremendous problems in the Ephesian church – more than Timothy could handle. Paul had confidence that with God’s help Timothy would be able to accomplish great things for the Kingdom. At times we all feel ill-equipped and inadequate to make real changes … but the promise of faith in God’s power is that He can do more than we can imagine. We should recognise the power of a good example. Paul was concerned that young Timothy be a good example for all of the members. Some of them would look down upon him for his youth. He was not to give them an occasion to criticize him due to his setting a bad example. Example (tupos) is the word from which we get the word “type.” It is an impression or a mould. The Bible affirms that there is a great power in a great example! Jesus led by example. He said in John 13:15 “I have set you an example that you should do as I have done for you”. Christians are to be good examples to each other (Philippians 3:17 “Brothers, join in imitating me, and keep your eyes on those who walk according to the example you have in us.”)
There is certainly power in a personal example. Think for a moment of people you know who have left you a good example is there not something special about them? Think for a moment about the words we say. Are we a good example in our speech? James says that controlling what we say is such a difficult thing that if we can control our tongues we can control anything! (James 3:2) Colossians 4:6 “Let your speech always be gracious, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how you ought to answer each person.” That’s a real challenge isn’t it. The Christian can ruin influence by speech full of vulgarity, profanity, and arguing. Set the pace among your peers, be an example of speech.
But what about our actions ? What are you doing? Be an example in conduct. Conduct is manner of life; it’s about behaviour. This is a call for a proper lifestyle. Proverbs 20:11 “Even a child makes himself known by his acts, by whether his conduct is pure and upright.”
So, how are you treating people? Be an example of love. Agape is seeking the highest good for someone else, no matter what the circumstances. William Barclay says” Its real meaning is unconquerable benevolence. If a man has agape( love) no matter what other people do to him or say of him, he will seek nothing but their good. He will never be bitter, never resentful, never vengeful; he will never allow himself to hate; he will never refuse to forgive.”. Jesus said in John 13:35 “By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.”
Who is in charge of your life? Be an example of faith. Faith is a demonstration of the full reliance and confidence in God. To place our trust fully on God takes giving our whole heart to the Lord. Make decisions in light of faith not only career progress, achieving your own goals, making ends meet, or what gives you personal pleasure. There are many things that faithless people will do in order to get what they want. People of faith will first seek God’s will, then in faith persevere in God’s pathway. Hebrews 11:6 “And without faith it is impossible to please him, for whoever would draw near to God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him.
Who sets Your Standards? Be an example of purity. Purity is a cleanliness of life, without moral filth, pure, true, one who stays on the holy path.
Barclay maintains that the Christian pledge is to a life of purity. The Christian ought to have a standard of honour and honesty, of self-control and chastity, of discipline and consideration for others. Remember the example and influence that you are setting, that we all are setting each day.
“I Felt Your Touch”
Whatever our hands touch —
We leave fingerprints!
In walls, on furniture,
On doorknobs, dishes, books;
As we touch we leave our identity.
Please Lord, wherever I go today,
Help me leave heartprints!
Heartprints of compassion,
Of understanding and love.
Heartprints of kindness
And genuine concern.
May my heart touch a lonely neighbor
Or a runaway daughter,
Or an anxious mother,
Or, perhaps, a dear friend!
I shall go out today
To leave heartprints,
And if someone should say
“I felt your touch,”
May that one sense be…Your Love
Touching others through Me.
– Author Unknown –