SETTING AN EXAMPLE
“Follow my example, as I follow the example of Christ.”
1 Corinthians 11:1
When it comes to discipleship, an important thing that occurs is that people become examples to others. This should make us aware that our lives can do either two things: bring people closer to Jesus or farther from Him. The words we speak and the actions we show must reveal the character of Christ.
For those of us who know the Lord, it is necessary that we do not lose sight of Jesus, our primary example. It is Jesus whom we follow. It is Jesus whom we serve. We die to ourselves so that Christ may live in us. People ought to see Christ in us. Thing is, do they? Or do they only see Christ in us on Sunday mornings at church? How about everyday of the week?
We are most conscious of presenting “good behavior” when we know we are being watched. We give ourselves invisible tally sheets, ticking boxes for what we did not do and what we did do. Stop my mouth from cursing?Check. Greet the usher? Check. Forgive that guy who took my parking space? Check. Not look lustfully at that pretty girl? Check. Close eyes! Close eyes! Close eyes! The list is endless, and we find ourselves stuck in a routine of trying to present ourselves as good Christian examples. And wouldn’t you know it? We soon tire of all these do’s and don’ts. We tire of religion. We tire of our hypocrisy.
Secretly, our hearts know the truth: when no one is watching, we curse like hell. When we are hurt, we speak evil of people. When we are in our rooms, we switch on the computer and watch pornography. We manage our sins in the darkness instead of overcoming them.
This brings out a very important point to discuss: how much of Jesus truly lives in us? How much of love and purity?—For love is one of His names and purity is one of His virtues. How much of freedom? It is good to remember what the Bible says:
“If the Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed.”
Being an example to others starts with us honestly becoming examples of Christ. How do we do this? How do we transform in such a way that Jesus becomes so alive in us that sin is overcome, and we are transformed into being like Him? The Bible says in 2 Cor. 3:18:
“And we all, who with unveiled faces contemplate the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his image with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.”
Do we contemplate on the Lord’s glory? One way to do this is by meditating on His Word. Read the Bible intentionally. Speak to Jesus. Listen to Him. Gaze at His face. When Christ becomes our all in all, then the inevitable happens: pleasing Him and loving Him become the preoccupation of our lives.
Setting a good example, therefore, will come naturally when Jesus’ glory sweeps our minds and hearts like a cleansing fire. He starts to burn in us, and we start to burn for Him– shining the light of His glory! Doing good will not become a burden to us when Christ is all we see and want. In fact, “doing good” becomes “being good” because in Christ, we become righteous (2 Cor.5:21). Following Jesus becomes the only lifestyle we will desire to have. It is the lifestyle of Heaven on earth. We can then say as the apostle Paul did, “Follow my example, as I follow the example of Christ.”
Christ sets the example for us. We are examples of Him to others. Why should live any less than this?