These things happened to them as examples and were written down as warnings for us, on whom the culmination of the ages has come. (1 Corinthians 10:11)
Make no mistake about this biblical truth: your life . . . my life . . . everyone’s life . . . will serve as either an example to follow or a warning sign telling others to turn away.
I have coached athletes for decades, and I have always been amazed at this statement from high-profile athletes: “I am not a role model!” The painful truth is, they may not want to be a role model, but they most definitely are for someone who is watching them. The same can be said for everyone who professes faith in Jesus Christ.
Did you know that you are the only Bible that some people will ever read? There are tens of millions of men and women and boys and girls who know nothing about the 66 books of sacred Scripture, but they do know a great deal about the life they see you living before their eyes. And because you claim to be a follower of Jesus Christ, the way you live is the way they form their opinion about the Jesus of the Bible.
So the question that needs to be asked is this: Does your life serve as an example that encourages others to follow Jesus? Or will they turn away from Him after watching you?
Let me make something perfectly clear: I am not speaking about living a perfect life. Only Jesus did that. We live every aspect of our lives imperfectly; we all do things we ought not do . . . say things we ought not say . . . and think things we ought not think. But what I am talking about is manifesting a consistent desire to live a life that is pleasing to God, even though we know that life will not be perfect on this side of the grave.
Peter’s life was far from perfect. He was impulsive and frequently spoke when he should have been listening. He denied our Lord three times and was later rebuked by Paul for refusing to eat with Gentile Christians (Galatians 2:11-14). And yet in spite of his many failures, the life Peter lived serves as a wonderful example of what it means to live for nothing smaller than Jesus, even while living it imperfectly.
Every great saint in Scripture and in the history books has their share of blemishes and warts which all the world can see. But those blemishes just make them more real to us. And even if others don’t see our own short-comings, we know they are there. We know when we do not measure up to Jesus’ standard of perfection; we are painfully aware that we fail to measure up several times each day. But in spite of our many imperfections, God has chosen us to put the Gospel on display for a watching world. Remember, God uses imperfect people because they are all He has to use!
So . . . have you considered what kind of example you set for those who are watching you? When you mess it up—and you will—confess your sin and ask for forgiveness from God and those you may have offended or hurt. Then get on with life and live it, asking God for the grace to live each day for His glory and for the good of others.
Everyone is an example; what kind of example are you?
This is the Gospel. This is grace for your race. NEVER FORGET THAT . . . AMEN!