Mark Twain once said, “Few things are harder to put up with than the annoyance of a good example.”
Each of us is either a good example or a bad one. And, like it or not, each of us is an example of some kind.
I think there are a lot of people in the church today who pretend to be something they’re really not. They’re playing a game. They’re putting on a show.
But if you’re a Christian, you may be the only Bible that many people ever read. They’re not necessarily going to see what the Scriptures have to say. However, they will watch you. They’ll look at the way you live, the way you treat your family and the way you do your job.
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They’ll look at the way you function as a follower of Jesus Christ and make their evaluation about God accordingly.
The apostle Paul wrote to the believers in Corinth, “The only letter of recommendation we need is you yourselves. Your lives are a letter written in our hearts; everyone can read it and recognize our good work among you” (2 Cor. 3:2, NLT).
And in Philippians 2, Paul gave us one of the most concise, perfect summaries of the Christian life, which shows us how important a good example really is.
He wrote, “Work hard to show the results of your salvation, obeying God with deep reverence and fear. For God is working in you, giving you the desire and the power to do what pleases him. Do everything without complaining and arguing, so that no one can criticize you. Live clean, innocent lives as children of God, shining like bright lights in a world full of crooked and perverse people” (verses 12b–16).
There was a very special bond between the apostle Paul and the believers in this particular church. He loved them, and they loved him. When Paul wrote this letter, they were in great agony over the fact that he was in prison and couldn’t be with them.
Paul was essentially telling them, “I don’t want you to lower your guard spiritually, even if I am not around. I don’t want you go into some kind of spiritual cruise control and not continue to move forward. You need to keep walking with the Lord.”
This reminds me of an old poem that says:
You are writing a gospel,
A chapter each day,
By the deeds that you do
And the words that you say.
Men read what you write,
Whether faithful or true:
Just what is the gospel,
According to you?
Some people are interested in the things of God when they’re around committed Christians. But if they’re not around believers, they’re quickly pulled in the world’s direction. That’s because they don’t have their own foundation in the Lord. Their relationship with God is contingent on someone else’s relationship with God.
We see this illustrated in the book of Genesis with Abraham and his nephew Lot. Abraham had a strong faith and walked closely with the Lord. His nephew Lot, however, was sort of a spiritual freeloader. You might say that Abraham walked with God, but Lot walked with Abraham.
When Lot was around Uncle Abraham, he was strong in the faith and interested in the things of God. But when he got away from his uncle, he was drawn to the ways of the world. Lot’s problem was that he didn’t have his own relationship with God.
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SOURCE: Charisma News