Posts Tagged ‘1 Peter 2:21’

Are You an Example or Exception?

July 11th, 2018

Example Provides the Power for Persuasion.

“Christ, Who suffered for you, is your example. Follow in His steps.” 1 Peter 2:21 NLT.

My thoughts and comments today ask a question,

“Are You An Example Or Exception?”

When I was a young man preparing for ministry, my Dad gave me invaluable advice for success. His wise counsel applies to all areas of life and leadership. Out of his own experience and personal example, my Dad taught me practical wisdom for every day life. It was simple enough that I have recalled his words for more than fifty years.

He said, “Never ask or expect others to go where you have not gone, nor expect someone to do what you have not been willing to do, nor expect anyone to give what you are not willing to give.” “Do as I say,” never works as well as, “Do as I do.” Think about this for a moment. Example provides the power for persuasion.

Jesus is the best example. He sacrificed much more than He requires of you and me. To those who wanted to know how to live well, He kept it basic. He simply said, “Follow Me.” Anyone can do that if they want to do so. To be an effective leader of people, you must first be an example of what you expect of others. To be influential, you must be an example.

As Jesus washed the feet of the disciples in the night before His sacrifice, He established a pattern for theirs and our service and sacrifice for others and toward one another, “I have given you an example, that you should do as I have done for you.” Read John 13:15-17 NKJ. For a moment, think about Jesus’ example and yours.

Whether talking about parenting, relationships, business dealings, or any arena that requires leadership, your involvement should be exemplary and inspiring to others, whether big or small. Many years later Peter wrote of Jesus’ example,“Christ, who suffered for you, is your example. Follow in His steps.” 1 Peter 2:21 NLT.

The Apostle Paul was direct, “And let us not grow weary while doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart. Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all, especially to those who are of the household of faith.” Galatians 6:9-10 NKJ. For the times when you grow weary and people seem to take your kindness for granted, remember the Bible’s counsel to keep your eyes on Jesus, “Consider Jesus who endured such opposition from sinful men, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.” Hebrews 12:3 NIV. Jesus’ example always inspires. Yours should do the same.

The Bible’s intention is about your living a holy consistency of life before God and others. Let’s be practical about this: doing the least you can neither produces the satisfaction you seek nor the expected result in others’ lives. God asks you to be an example while never allowing yourself to be an exception, giving up your right to make excuses and not expecting more of others than you require of yourself.

Your Biblical responsibility and God’s expectation of you is this: “Be an example to all believers in what you teach, in the way you live, in your love, your faith, and your purity.” 1 Timothy 4:12 NLT. Being an example is good; excusing yourself to be an exception to that is not.

Today I pray for you to live a life that glorifies God and edifies others.

Christian Communications 2018

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Being Exemplary

January 27th, 2014

“Christ . . is your example. Follow in His steps.” 1 Peter 2:21 NLT.

Personal example far outweighs impersonal instruction.

My thoughts and comments today are about “being exemplary.”

Maybe you have heard it said, “Do as I say, not as I do.” Such instruction doesn’t work so well in parenting, or relationships of any kind. The problem with such advice is this: personal example far outweighs impersonal instruction. Words take little time, minimal cost, and marginal effort to tell someone what to do. The most accurate instruction is not nearly as effective as modeling. The best teaching, and therefore most enduring learning, includes example and demonstration.

In previous comments last week, I wrote, “As God came into His world by the Incarnation of Jesus Christ, God works today in our world to bring lost people from unbelief to faith as His Word is incarnated in the very lives that have been forever changed.” But how does that work? Paul wrote to Christ-followers, “[You are] known and read by everybody, you show that you are a letter from Christ . . written not with ink but with the Spirit of the living God.” 2 Corinthians 3:3-4 NKJV. (See “Living Letters,” EDL, Friday, January 24, 2014). I want to further develop how God achieves that incarnation of truth through the lives of those who know and trust Him as Savior.

Jesus’ expectation and your assignment are clear, “Be an example to all believers in what you teach, in the way you live, in your love, your faith, and your purity.” 1 Tim 4:12-13 NLT. Now, that’s a holy mission requiring devotion and sacrifice. How can you and I bring a living word to a world where the plethora of inauthentic words and paucity of worthy examples devalue efforts?

In humility, Jesus understood, “The Son can do nothing of Himself; He can do only what He sees His Father doing; for whatever the Father does, the Son also does [in like manner]. For the Father loves the Son, and shows Him all He does . . I don’t speak on My own authority. The Father who sent Me gave Me His own instructions as to what I should say. And I know that His instructions lead to eternal life; so I say whatever the Father tells me to say.” John 5:19-20 NIV/12:49-50 NLT.

The Father modeled for Jesus what He should say and do and the Son wisely followed His Father’s example with His disciples, and with us. As Jesus learned from His Father, He taught by example and modeling all the Father taught Him. To His disciples, Jesus said, “I have given you an example to follow. Do as I have done.” John 13:15 NLT. In your strength alone, success is impossible. You need the indwelling Word of God and anointing of the Spirit. See Colossians 3:16-17 NIV.

The calling is daunting but the solution is this simple. Christ . . is your example. Follow in His steps.” 1 Peter 2:21 NLT. If you will walk as He directs, speak what He says, and do the will of the Father as He did, you are following His example and your life will be extraordinary. “Live as children of God in a dark world . . Let your lives shine brightly before them.” Philippians 2:15-16 NLT. Being ordinary is nothing special; being exemplary is.

My prayer for you today is that you are a shining example of all that is good and holy.

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Doing What’s Right

October 7th, 2011

“After looking around to make sure no one was watching . .” Exodus 2:12 NLT

“Doing wrong never works out right, even if done for a right reason!”

My thoughts today are about “doing what’s right.”

Is your vocabulary better spoken depending on who is listening? Is your attitude better monitored when people you think important are nearby? Does your humor take a different turn depending on your present circle of companions? Is your behavior different when you know no one else is observing? But isn’t it true that someone is always looking; you just don’t always know who, or what will be the effect of your example at that time.

Your conduct, conversation, and attitudes should at all times and on all occasions be exemplary, not an exception. There is a moral danger to ever being something on an occasion that you would not choose to be all the time. Indulge others possibly, but never yourself. Conduct, conversation, and attitudes are really matters of character and integrity. It may be an over-simplification, but character is essentially being the same in public and private. Integrity is being the same inside and out – what you see is what you get, and it’s all good.

Among others things my father taught and modeled for me, I learned a principle of leadership: “Those who follow you may not match your discipline, so demand more of yourself than you would expect of them; they may also exceed your liberties so be more restrained than you would otherwise have to be.“ My takeaway was this: others are watching; what you do could affect what they do, to their detriment or benefit. Here’s the reality: someone is always watching your life and being affected for better or worse – for time or even eternity – by what you do, what you say, and who you are. As a parent and pastor I must remember others are watching to know what they should do, how they should live. I want to be a Godly example and do what’s right.

Be a Godly example, authentically not artificially. The Bible instructs that you “be an example to the believers in word, in conduct, in love, in spirit, in faith, and in purity.” 1 Timothy 4:12 NKJV. Do you know how you can best do that? Follow the Leader, Christ Jesus. “For to this you were called, Christ . . leaving us an example, that you should follow in His steps: Who committed no sin, nor was deceit found in His mouth.” Read 1 Peter 2:21-22 NKJV.

For a right reason, you can still do the wrong thing. Moses was a remarkable man and great leader, but even he was vulnerable to an unwise decision when he thought no one was looking; no one would know. Moses was a Prince of Egypt but now knew he was also a Hebrew by birth. Coming upon an Egyptian beating a Hebrew slave, “After looking around to make sure that no one was watching, Moses killed the Egyptian and buried him in the sand.” Exodus 2:11-15 NLT. If you have to look around to make sure no one is watching, you probably are about to do something you ought not to do! Doing wrong never works out right, even if done for a right reason! Job observed, “Times are not hidden from the Almighty.” Job 24:1 NKJV. When no one else sees, God does! Read 1 Corinthians 4:5 NIV/ 2 Corinthians 4:2 NKJV. You will never regret doing what’s right; you will regret when you don’t.

My prayer for you today is that you do what’s right because that’s right to do.

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Examples and Warnings

July 22nd, 2011

“These things happened as examples and . . warnings for us.” 1 Corinthians 10:11 NIV

History is the great tutor, teaching future generations to be wiser.”

My thoughts today are about “examples and warnings.”

It is often quoted in varying forms, “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.” (George Santayana, Spanish-born American philosopher). I would be accurate to paraphrase his words this way, “He who does not learn from his mistakes is destined to repeat them.” History is the great tutor, teaching future generations to be wiser than those before them. Each generation passes down their stories of successes, as well as their legacy of mistakes made with or without lessons learned. Ever wonder why our children are often so much like us?

But be encouraged, God can use your history, as well as the experiences of others, to make you better than you would otherwise have been. Learn from those experiences. From some you learn what to do and from others what to avoid, but from every example you can learn and be better.

“Now these things occurred as examples to keep us from setting our hearts on evil things as they did . . these things happened to them as examples and were written down as warnings for us, on whom the fulfillment of the world has come. So if you think you are standing firm, be careful that you don’t fall!” I Corinthians 10: 6/11-12 NIV. In the verses before and after, Paul describes the opportunities Israel had and squandered and the consequence of needless loss from their disregard of God’s law, as the things that can serve as examples and warnings to us. Read 1 Corinthians 10:1-14 NIV.

Every person is given the prospect of avoiding others’ errors and breaking free from their own. God does not use history – your own or another’s – to paint a prediction of your future. You have the power to change your future. God uses history to portray the better possibilities that He desires for you. Examples and warnings are the powerful ways God does that.

Edgar A. Guest, a British-born American Poet, wrote, “I’d rather see a sermon than hear one any day; I’d rather one should walk with me than merely tell the way. The eye is a better pupil and more willing than the ear; fine counsel is confusing, but example is always clear.” Seen a sermon? Had the benefit of a guide on your journey? A good example better than a great explanation for you?

I would pose this question: who is the example you are following? A word of warning; before you follow their path too far, look far ahead to see where that takes you. And consider this: who is following your example? Look around; are you helping or hurting them? A good example helps people; making yourself an exception confuses them.

Paul could confidently write, “Follow my example, as I follow the example of Christ . . join with others in following my example, ad take note of those who live according to the pattern we gave you.” 1 Corinthians 11:1 NIV/Philippians 3:17 NIV. Life is never do as I say, not as I do. That just doesn’t work, never has, never will. Take your lead from Jesus. “Christ, who suffered for you, is your example. Follow in His steps.” 1 Peter 2:21 NLT. His example will never be misleading nor confusing.

My prayer for you today is that you follow examples that make you more like Jesus.

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Issues and Questions

June 13th, 2011

“(Your) steps . . are directed of the Lord..” Psalm 37:23 NLT

“No person knows enough nor is wise enough who lives apart from God.”

My thoughts today are about “issues and questions.”

Most of time, people are so used to charting their own path they rarely realize they are doing so, and never imagined that they shouldn’t. When all goes well, there are no problems. But when you face an impasse and don’t know what to do, where do you turn for help? I think, when you are honest with yourself, you find your situation the same as Solomon, except you either don’t realize this or refuse to admit it. “I am a little child and do not how to go out or come in . . therefore give to Your servant an understanding heart.” 1 Kings 3:7-9 NKJV.

To admit that is rather humbling to a person’s sense of pride and accomplishment. Solomon was not a child; David’s son was about to be crowned king of Israel at the height of its glory and power, yet he understood his future was greater than his natural abilities. Solomon understood his absolute need for God’s direction and wisdom. Do you? Read Jeremiah 10:23 NIV.

This was David’s confidence: “The steps of the Godly are directed by the Lord. He delights in every detail of their lives.” Psalm 37:23 NLT. The real issue is your answer to this question, “Who’s in charge here?” Do you set the terms and direction for your life, or does God? You can trust God to direct every step because, “He delights in every detail of your life.” Of whom else can that be said?

There are several issues at play and several questions that are important to ask and answer. There is the issue of purpose, a purpose bigger than just “making a living.” However successful you are at that, you will not find that a settled sense of purpose. You need a clear purpose, Godly and God-given. If your purpose does not touch eternity, it is inadequate for your lifetime. Don’t settle for a small life. Ask yourself this, “When I am what I am becoming, who will I be?

Within the human spirit, there is yearning for meaning. It will be tragic to wake up late in life wondering if your life had meaning; did your time here make any difference really? Any life without an inner sense of purpose will lack meaning. Eventually, you have to answer this, “When I get what I want, what will I have?”

There is also the matter of direction. Life is not to be aimless; it is to have objective and direction. Life is too precious and valuable to be wasted wandering. Where is your true North? What determines where you are going? Do you live by random occurrence, pushed one way or another by circumstances; or by committee, carried along with the crowd; or by such an important matter reserved for your own prerogative? You should live by deliberate submission to God and His Word, ways, and will. See 1 Peter 2:21 NIV. You need to truthfully answer: “When I get where I’m going, where will I be?”

Finally, to navigate life successfully, there is a necessity for wisdom. No person knows enough nor is wise enough who lives apart from God. “Let not the wise man boast in his wisdom . . but that he understands and knows Me.” Read Jeremiah 9:23-24 NIV.

My prayer for you today is: invest your life in God, rather than spend it wastefully.

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