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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

Website and archives: allenrandolph.com

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Example or Exception?

June 8th, 2012

“Show yourself an example of those who believe.” 1 Timothy 4:12 NASU

To be your best, you need a lofty ideal to inspire your better efforts.

My thoughts and comments today ask a question, “example or exception?”

Usually people just want to be who they are without the pressure and responsibility of others’ expectations. Unfortunately, life is rarely that simple. You have expectations of other people; they often will have expectations of you. Some of those may be unfair and unrealistic. However, others are normal and healthy, and can be useful in bringing out the best in one another.

You have a choice. You can choose to be an example or claim a right to be an exception. Too often the latter is the choice most frequently taken. Do you know someone like that? Are you ever like that? Rules are for others; procedures are optional for them; protocol is others’ concern; their convenience supersedes another’s inconvenience. Being an exception usually starts with smaller, insignificant things. Who will notice? Who would care, a person may reason. But be advised, such liberties are soon addictive and the growing scale of exceptions you make for yourself become less justifiable.

To be your best, you need a lofty ideal to inspire your better efforts. Without such an example, the assumption of “good enough” produces an inadequate lifestyle. Many years ago, I read a brief differentiation that impacted my understanding. “There are two things, the actual and the ideal. To be mature is to see the ideal yet live with the actual. To accept only that which is ideal and refuse the actual is to be immature. Do not criticize the actual because you have seen the ideal. Do not reject the ideal because you see the actual. Maturity is to live with the actual but hold on to the ideal.” Derek Prince, author/teacher.

It is good when you can recognize, “I may not yet be all that I will be, but by the grace of God, neither am I all that I used to be.” In Jesus, you have a worthy ideal to which you must aspire. Jesus did not leave us without a Godly ideal, “I have given you an example to follow. Do as I have done . . you know these things – now do them. That is the path of blessing.” John 13:15-17 NLT. Following Jesus is the path of blessing. For the follower of Christ, “good enough is not good enough.”

The Apostle Paul’s message to the younger Timothy was clear: an exemplary life is expected of you as a Christ-follower. “In speech, conduct, love, faith, and purity, show yourself an example of those who believe . . take pains with these things, be absorbed in them, so that your progress will be evident to all.” 1 Timothy 4:12/15 NASU. That list is practical and sufficiently encompassing.

When warning Timothy of people who are not what they first appear, Paul wrote, “But you know what I teach, and how I live, and what my purpose in life is . . you know my faith . . you know my love and patient endurance.” 2 Timothy 3:10 NLT. Paul chose to be an example, not an exception. People will watch your life before they will embrace your words. If those differ, your claims are dismissed as untrue or irrelevant. See 2 Corinthians 3:2 NKJV. Making Jesus appear irrelevant may be the worst of offenses. Earn the right to be heard as “an example of those who believe.”

My prayer for you today is that you will exemplify the graces available in Christ.

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