It’s Mug Monday! Join me each week through the summer to see the featured mug (some mine, some yours, & some borrowed). We will seek to make some sense out of the wisdom or humor written on its side. Pull up a chair and join me in a cup of coffee!
People are watching you. Oh, yes they are! As a Christian, you are setting an example. The question is – Are you a good example or a bad one?
Many Christians don’t want to be an example. We point to Christ and say “There’s our example. That’s who we follow, not another person.” Ah, yes, that let’s us off the hook. Let’s take the humble route and say, “Don’t look at me. Just look at Jesus.”
There’s just one problem with that. It isn’t biblical.
Yes, our ultimate example is Jesus. In fact, the Holy Spirit is constantly working to conform us to His image. But God wants to give us flesh and blood, in our face examples too. The apostle Paul knew those first century believers needed that and he strove to be a Christ-like example for them.
To the believers in Corinth, Paul wrote: “Follow my example, as I follow the example of Christ.” Those folks were surrounded by a plethora of bad examples. They needed someone who could say, “This way. I’m following Jesus, so you can follow me.”
That’s the kind of Christ follower we should be. We should be following Christ so closely that others could follow us and be going the right direction.
It’s not that we’ve gotten things perfect. Even though we still have a ways to go, we can still guide others in the right direction. Hear Paul’s words from Philippians:
“Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already been made perfect, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. Brothers, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus… Join with others in following my example, brothers and take note of those who live according to the pattern we gave you.” Philippians 3:12-14, 17
Did you hear that? Paul did not consider himself perfect. He was still learning and growing spiritually. But he was running hard after Jesus and that made him a good example. Others could follow him and be headed in the right direction.
What about us? If others follow us will they be headed in a Christ-ward direction? What does it look like to “strain ahead” and “press on toward the goal?”