“ …do not fall into the trap of following their customs and worshiping their gods. Do not inquire about their gods, saying, ‘How do these nations worship their gods? I want to follow their example.” – Deuteronomy 12:30
Albert Einstein once said, “setting an example is not the only means of influencing others; it is the only means.” We all have role models in our lives. People who make an imprint and are examples we can follow. It is a very real possibility that in some season of life that others are examples for us and at the same time we are examples for others. It is easy to believe we can’t make a difference when we are overwhelmed by what seems a constant campaign against the church and our beliefs by the media and modern culture. It can seem difficult to live out our faith. It would seem prudent to give up or remain silent, but that is not an option for us. God calls us to be an example.
1 Peter 2:21 says, “For to this you have been called, because Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example, so that you might follow in his steps.” John 13:15 says, “I have given you an example to follow. Do as I have done to you.” As Christ set an example for us, so too should we set an example for the people around us. Even when culture and society reject our theological and moral beliefs. And there will be people that look down on what we believe. The reality is that Christianity and culture are often two opposing forces of influence. But that does not mean that we should stop trying to be an example of God’s love to all we meet.
Be a light for Christ to others. One of the most profound ways to influence others is to radiate joy and let people see Christ at work in us. Our personal example can be the catalyst that helps lead someone from skeptic to believer. “Do all things without grumbling or disputing, that you may be blameless and innocent, children of God without blemish in the midst of a crooked and twisted generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world, ” (Philippians 2:14–15)
God’s love and grace is more powerful when it’s exhibited. Society must see the difference Jesus makes in people’s lives with their own eyes. Our hope is that the watching world will see these differences, and find them attractive, that they “may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.” (Matthew 5:16 ESV)
It’s hard to exaggerate the power for good what an individual Christian or Christian family can exert in their circle of friends, neighborhood and town. Their friends can see love and a humble, giving nature. They can see a husband and wife loving and honoring one another, devoted and faithful to one another, and finding fulfillment in one another. They will see individuals not looking inward, but turned outward. One Christian can demonstrate different values, different standards, different joys, and different goals. One Christian can make a real difference.
- What do you find most difficult about being an example?
- Do you think it is possible to be an example even when it doesn’t appear that people view you that way?
- What can we do this week to be a more Godly example?