3 (Practical) Steps To Setting An Example “For The Believers”
It is hard to have a Christ-like impact on a community that is already Christian.
As someone who has grown up on the mission field surrounded by seemingly spiritual giants, I know how much truth there is in this statement.
How do you be a godly example to godly people without seeming like you are being prideful, or are thinking yourself superior?
This is something I struggle with daily.
1 Timothy 4:12 tells us that we can and should set an example to believers. Whether they are kids or adults, missionaries or not, we can still shine as bright lights for Christ to the godly people around us.
These are three important steps that I think are necessary to take if we are going to set a godly example to other Christians:
Prayer is one of the most powerful tools that we as Christians are given. We can talk to God, the all-powerful, all-knowing creator of the universe any time we want and he listens to us, hears us, and answers us.
If you have a passion and a desire to see a spiritual revival in the Christian community around you, pray that God will give you the words to say and the courage to say them.
If you want to set an example for the missionaries you are surrounded by, pray for wisdom in what to do and the resolve to live it out.
2. Have a reputation of humility.
If every Christian acted perfectly Christ-like all the time, it wouldn’t even be necessary for us to set a Christ-like example to other Christians. However, I can tell you from personal experience that is not the case. We all fail.
Christians fail. Missionaries fail.
You fail. I fail.
Before we can set any sort of example for anyone, we have to recognize and admit our failure, not just to God, but to the people around us.
Mistakes of the past pave the way for humility in the future.
I’m not telling you to go to every bulletin board you can find and put up posters saying “PLEASE NOTE: I am being humble by admitting to the world that I fail!” That’s not humility either, but in fact another form of pride.
True humility is admitting not just when you’ve blatantly wronged someone, but even when they might not know that you’ve wronged them.
Things like gossip. The other person may never know you gossiped about them, but if you go and admit that to them and ask their forgiveness, that shows humility and maturity that won’t soon be forgotten.
3. Don’t compromise your standards.
If you have high standards, that’s a good thing. So often we see other Christians doing something that we don’t feel comfortable doing, yet we choose to do it anyways because, “Well, the missionary’s doing it, so it can’t be wrong.”
I’m not talking about things like getting drunk, addiction to drugs, or premarital sex. I hope and pray that we never compromise our standards on issues that are very clearly wrong by biblical standards.
I’m talking about things like how tight our jeans are, how much swearing we’ll tolerate in movies, or how much secular music we listen to. Each of us has our own personal standards on each of these issues. For someone to see you violating what they know are your personal standards shows them that either you don’t know or you don’t care about what you believe is wrong.
If you think it’s immodest to wear that shirt that your Christian friend thought was so cute even though the neck line dips pretty low, don’t wear it.
If you don’t like the message of a song that comes up on your MK friend’s iPod because it’s not biblical, politely ask them to skip the song.
If your youth group friends keep using a word that, while it’s not actually cursing, you still don’t feel comfortable using, don’t say it just because they are.
Honor your standards.
This isn’t meant to be a “Three Step Guide to a Better Life” type of thing. There are plenty of other tools out there to help you to set a godly example to believers, but prayer, humility, and personal standards are where you have to start.
You can’t start a spiritual revival without consulting God. You can’t glorify God by being prideful.
And you can’t set an example for what’s right if you don’t follow your own standards on biblical issues.
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