A very important part of the life of a Christian is the example he sets before others.  

Not far into the Sermon on the Mount recorded in Matthew 5-7, Jesus spoke about the importance of a proper example. He said, "You are the salt of the earth; but if the salt loses its flavor, how shall it be seasoned? It is then good for nothing but to be thrown out and trampled underfoot by men. You are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do they light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a lamp stand, and it gives light to all who are in the house. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven." (Matthew 5:13-16). Speaking to His disciples, Jesus called them both the salt of the earth, which means a flavoring agent, and the light of the world, a reference to letting our godliness shine brightly in a dark, corrupt world. Note especially, His last statement where He said, "Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works..." How do we do this? By being a proper example before others.

Paul wrote in Philippians 2:14-15, "Do all things without complaining and disputing, that you may become blameless and harmless, children of God without fault in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world." Again reference is made to the fact that even while in the world, we are to let our light shine. Writing to Timothy, Paul said, "Let no one despise your youth, but be an example to the believers in word, in conduct, in love, in faith, in purity." (1 Timothy 4:12) While Timothy was a preacher of the gospel, he was also a Christian, both of which Paul was appealing to on this occasion.

Consider the example of Jesus about this. He lived His life without sin. He did not break the law, either the laws of God, nor the laws of man. One example of this is found in 1 Peter 2:21-23, "For to this you were called, because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that you should follow His steps." Jesus set an example before others. And, continually, the scriptures teach us that we are to follow His example. Paul wrote, "Imitate me, as I also imitate Christ." (1 Corinthians 11:1). Galatians 2:20 says, "I have been crucified with Christ, it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me..." Thus if we try to put on Christ in our lives, we will set a proper example before others, just as He did.

As you study the Bible, you will quickly learn that you are expected to be an example in every aspect of your life. Christians have responsibilities concerning government, their community, their family, their work, and as members of the church.

Christians are to be proper examples toward the government. Romans 13:1-7 tells us that we are to be subject to the governing authorities. Jesus taught that we are to render to Caesar that which belongs to Caesar (the government) (Mark 12:17.). Peter wrote that we are to submit to every ordinance of man for the Lordís sake. 2 Peter 2:15 states a reason, "that by doing good you may put to silence the ignorance of foolish men.."

Christians have responsibilities to be a proper example in society. 1 Peter 2:12 tells us that we are to have, "...your conduct honorable among the Gentiles, that when they speak of you as evildoers, they may, by your good works which they observe, glorify God in the day of visitation." Paul wrote, "Walk in wisdom toward those who are outside, redeeming the time." (Colossians 4:4)  Romans 12:17 says, "Repay no one evil for evil. Have regard for good things in the sight of all men."

Christians also have responsibility toward their family. 1 Peter 3:1-7 speaks about wives being a proper example for their husbands, and husbands are to love their wives. Note the importance of example in verses 1 and 2, " Wives, likewise, be submissive to your own husbands, that even if some do not obey the word, they without a word, may be won by the conduct of their wives, when they observe your chaste conduct..." Ephesians 6:1-4 speaks of the responsibility children have to obey their parents and that parents have to bring up their children, "in the training and admonition of the Lord" This action demands being a proper example. Colossians 3:18-21 also deals with this topic.

Christians must be a proper example in business affairs also. 1 Thessalonians 4:11-12 speaks of Christians leading a quiet life, and working with their own hands. 1 Timothy 5:8 says, "But if anyone does not provide for his own, and especially for those of his household, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever." 2 Thessalonians 3:10 says that if anyone will not work, neither shall he eat. Colossians 3:23 says, "Whatever you do, do it heartily, as to the Lord." In addition to this, there are numerous passages that deal with honesty the apply here also. 2 Corinthians 8:21 says we are to be "providing honorable things, not only in the sight of the Lord, but also in the sight of men."

Finally, we must be a proper example in the church. The letters of Paul and others were written to churches about their conduct. Often their conduct toward one another is discussed. The love they are have toward each other, the like-mindedness, the care, all point toward being a proper example. Being a bad example is condemned in passages such as 1 Corinthians 5:8 where the church is rebuked for permitting immorality to exist. And 1 Corinthians 8:9 says, "Beware lest somehow this liberty of yours become a stumbling block to those who are weak." The entire chapter is dealing with being considerate of your brother. Hebrews 10:25 speaks of considering one another by, "not forsaking the assembling of yourselves together as is the manner of some, but exhorting one another..." This serves as but one example within the church of how we set a proper example, by attending worship services regularly.

Thus we can see the importance of being a proper example. It is a part of every aspect of the life of a Christian. And, one who does this, WILL lead a meaningful life, and in the end, this one will inherit eternal life. What about you? Are you living the life a Christian ought to live? Have you become a Christian? If not, let us assist you this day.




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