"For the kingdom of God is not a matter of talk but of power." - 1 Corinthians 4:20 (NIV)
"Don't let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in life, in love, in faith and in purity." - 1 Timothy 4:12 (NIV)
Time did not allow me to get my blog done Saturday so I'm playing catch up tonight, but God has made it very clear to me why that was. My studies for both of those days had to pretty much do with the same thing: being a role model.
There's an old saying, "Actions speak louder than words." and it's very, very true. Another old saying is "Talk is cheap". I can profess all day long to be a Christian but if my actions don't back up my words, who's going to believe me?! I'm a role model for the love and saving power of Jesus Christ and, like it or not, people are watching me. Am I living in the Word or in the world?
God really wants me to get this concept of how He expects me to live my life. Not only have several of my Bible studies been about this topic lately, but we've been doing a series about discipleship at church over the last few weeks that is just hammering this home to me. What exactly does it mean to be a disciple of Jesus Christ? It means I am an apprentice, a student of this man called Jesus. It means I will do everything to learn to become like Him. It means that, unlike the world -- which, for the last few decades has been plagued by this disease called selfishness -- I must learn to deny myself and put others wants and needs before my own. Philippians 2:2-5 (NIV) says, "Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves. Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others. Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus.". Am I living in the Word or in the world?
I would love to say I live in the Word from the time my eyes pop open in the morning to the time I collapse in bed at night but I'd be lying. I start every day with very good intentions....until my feet hit the floor. Then Satan goes to work. And there are days when I find it extremely difficult to stay out of the world. My "it's all about me" attitude rears it's ugly head and off I go! Me, myself and I are out to play!! And, if I'm not careful, if I don't nip my self-centeredness in the bud, if I don't get into a conversation with God and get my head back into His Word, then I become a role model for Satan. Unfortunately though, because I do profess to be a believer, Jesus is the one who gets the bad rap when I live in the world, not the devil. There's one more old saying that I want to quote: "It's good to be saved and know it! But it's better to be saved and show it!".
My actions should back up my words. My behavior should serve as an example of who Jesus really is - the Beloved Son of God who offers salvation to everyone who just reaches out and accepts Him into their heart as their Savior. Barbara Johnson observed, "In your desire to share the gospel, you may be the only Jesus someone else will ever meet. Be real and be involved with people.". That's the role model I want to be. I am making a conscious effort, daily, with God's help, to be a disciple of Jesus. I am striving to be kinder, more compassionate, more joyous and hopeful. I am striving to walk in Jesus footsteps and not look out for #1 but to make others #1 before me. Am I always successful? No. Am I getting better at it? Yes! With God's guidance and wisdom, I can live more in the Word and less in the world.
"Living life with a consistent spiritual walk deeply influences those we love most." - Vonette Bright
Lord Jesus, I want to be a role model for you; a genuine example of Your love and righteousness. I know that, as a believer, others see You through my actions and my behavior. May I be ever conscious of the image of You I project. Lord, help me to keep my heart and eyes focused on the Word and not the world. In Your precious name, Amen.