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cropped-rose-white-and-pink1 Timothy 4:12, “Be an example to the believers in word, in conduct, in love, in spirit, in faith, in purity”

1 Corinthians 11:1, “Imitate me, just as I also imitate Christ”

Leslie Stobel became a Christian in 1979 and modeled her faith in such a way that it influenced her atheist husband Lee to begin his own search for God. In his book “The Case for Christ”, he tells of his two years of intensive research that finally led him to receive Jesus Christ as his Savior. With a law degree from Yale and an award-winning career in journalism at the Chicago Tribune, Lee had the ability to answer tough questions raised by unbelievers and cynics. The change in his life also influenced their 5-year old daughter Alison, who said, “Mommy, I want God to do for me what He’s done for Daddy.” Leslie’s faith created a ripple effect that changed the whole family. This pattern of modeling or imitating is what the apostle Paul described in the first chapter of 1 Thessalonians.

His example, along with that of Silas and Timothy, motivated the new believers in Thessalonica to imitate them (the word followers carries that idea). Then, as these new believers suffered for Christ with patience and endurance, they in turn became models to believers in Macedonia and Achaia, inspiring them to new levels of devotion. Our example can be our most persuasive influence for Jesus Christ. Leslie’s example and her model of faith were such that her husband, an atheist, began to search for the truth about God and His Son Jesus Christ. We don’t know when our actions might become an example to others. However, if we live each day to honor Jesus, our behavior will model His righteousness, no matter who is watching. Idealism and enthusiasm are often best expressed by the young. But uprightness and honor should be goals for believers in Christ of every age. The apostle Paul told his young protégé Timothy, “Let no one despise your youth, but be an example to the believers in word, in conduct, in love, in spirit, in faith, in purity” (1 Timothy 4:12). So, my brethren:

(1) What are your values and priorities?
(2) What do they tell you about your spiritual life?
(3) As others watch you, will they see your faith in God?
(4) Lastly, do others imitate us because we model Christ?

Further reflection:

How well do you know the God of the Bible? It’s an important question; because the better we know God the better we will begin to know ourselves. To see God’s holiness is to see our own sinfulness and to see His goodness is to know the wonder of His grace, mercy and the depth of His love for us. To see His majesty is to give Him the honor and praise of which He is worthy. Do you know God? Do you know Him better than you did a year ago? If you’re a believer in Jesus Christ, your answer should be yes. The way to know God better is through His precious Word. As you read and study the Bible with a desire to obey Him, you will grow and mature spiritually. On the other hand, if you’ reading this and don’t know God, the first step is to establish a right and personal relationship with Him. The only way to have this kind of relationship is confessing your sin and trust Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior.

The One who gave himself for your failures can bring rightness with God, forgiveness of sin, and a new sense of wholeness and purpose into your weary soul. My friend, He died in our place, offering Himself as the perfect sacrifice to pay the price of sin. With one sacrifice, He paid for the least, and the worst, of our sin. The actual words we say to God to receive this free gift may vary. What is important is that we believe Him enough to be able to say, “God, I know I have sinned against You. I believe that Jesus is Your Son, that He died for my sins, and that He rose from the dead to prove it. Now I accept Your offer of eternal life. I accept Jesus as Your gift for my salvation. My friend, if this is the honest expression of your heart; you have entered into a personal relationship with God through His Son, Jesus Christ, and have become part of His heavenly family.

A good example is someone who knows the way, goes the way, and shows the way.