As you read through the New Testament letters that the Apostle Paul wrote, you can’t help but realize that he was pointing them toward holiness. He was continually telling them what to believe and how to act.
But, he wasn’t just pointing the way. He was heading in that direction himself.
You see, if we point the way but fail to head in that direction, we lose credibility. In fact, we discredit the message. If I say, “You should be like Jesus,” but you look at me and see that I’m not at all becoming like Jesus, you will not take my words seriously.
Credibility is gained when others see that we are striving to live consistent with our message.
This is why Paul wrote to young, preacher-boy Timothy and told him…
1 Timothy 4:12 “Let no one despise you for your youth, but set the believers an example in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith, in purity.”
As Timothy set an example for the believers, they would take his words more seriously.
But, there is one more reason why it is necessary to set an example…
If we point to Jesus and say, “Be like Him,” that may seem overwhelming to those who hear. After all, Jesus is perfect and we are far from it. It would seem like we are calling them to an impossible task.
We give hope to others when we set an example for the believers and our actions speak loud and clear: “Hey, I’m not perfect but I’m on the journey of becoming more like Jesus. I’m striving to set a godly example so you can follow me.”
1 Corinthians 11:1 “Be imitators of me, as I am of Christ.”
While we might never say that because it would sound egotistical to some folks, that is essentially what we are saying when we set an example for the believers. We are giving them an example to follow.
So, friend, are you setting a good example for others? I didn’t ask you if you are perfect. No one is flawless. I asked if the life you are living is pointing people toward Jesus.
Whether you realize it or not, others are watching. If you are a follower of Jesus, set an example for others so that if they follow you, they will become more like Him.