It is wonderfully inspiring—and often quite humbling—to read through the pages of sacred Scripture and see the example of some of the giants of the faith. The challenge is to remember that they were all flawed, many of them badly so, and were not nearly as “heroic” as we might want to think.
There is only one true hero in the Bible, and there is really only one example we should be following, as much as it is within our power to do so.
I have set the Lord always before me. With him at my right hand, I will not be shaken. (Psalm 16:8)
The very first thing the psalmist tells us is that he intentionally looked to the Lord as his Everlasting Example. There was no wavering between two opinions for the psalmist. He simply resolved to set the Lord before him, and no thing and no one other than the Lord.
Notice next the word “always.” The psalmist did not set the Lord before him on occasion; he set the Lord before him always. And what was the result of always setting the Lord before him? He knew that He could not be shaken.
Our Everlasting Example is the only place we will find everything we need to get through this life. When you set the Lord before you, regardless of the circumstances of life, you will not be overcome by them. Storm winds blow, but your Everlasting Example is in the storm with you, keeping your feet on solid ground.
I don’t want you to miss an incredible result of setting the Lord always before you: He will seem as near to you as your own right hand. Now, of course, God is always that close to us because He has promised to never leave nor forsake us. He is the Friend who sticks closer than a brother. But when we set other things before us, we lose that sense of intimacy and connection with God. At that level of living, we find ourselves disconnected from our source of life.
The gospels paint a beautiful, compelling picture of the life of our Lord, and I recognize none of us will live up to that standard. If we could, we would not need a Savior! But we can be encouraged by the life our Lord lived, knowing that He now lives in us by way of the Holy Spirit. Knowing that Jesus got up early to pray can encourage us to get up early to pray. Knowing that it was Jesus’ custom to go to synagogue can encourage us to go to church. Knowing that Jesus ministered to the brokenhearted can encourage us to minister to the brokenhearted.
What a life we would live with Jesus always set before us! What joys we would experience! What sins we would overcome! What virtues we would put on display! What a difference we would make in the lives of others if our Everlasting Example was always set before us! Remember, something will always be set before you. The eyes of our desire will always be on something or someone. You must be like the psalmist; you must be intentional and fix your eyes on Jesus. The more you do this, the more you will grow into the person God is calling you to be.
This is the Gospel. This is grace for your race. NEVER FORGET THAT . . . AMEN!