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Posts Tagged ‘John 12:49-50’

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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Words Matter

May 30th, 2012

“No man ever spoke like this man.” John 7:46 NKJV

Popular culture is content with a plethora of words bearing a paucity of relevance.

My thoughts and comments today are that “words matter.”

Words really do matter, or at least they should. They are the tools of communication and the building blocks of understanding. They have the power to inspire or dishearten, to intrigue or confuse. Solomon viewed words that edify as, “A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in settings of silver,” appropriate, valuable, and beautiful. Proverbs 25:11-13 NKJV.

Your world is daily bombarded with words, too many words too loud too much of the time, it often seems to me. This was Solomon’s conclusion, “The more you talk, the more likely you are to say something foolish . . In the multitude of words sin is not lacking.” Ecclesiastes 5:3 TEV/ Proverbs 10:19 NKJV. Due to a failure to value the quiet of one’s own thoughts and reflection, people surround themselves with uninterrupted noise as background, whether music or political commentary or their own voice. Whatever happened to the relaxation of sitting quietly and reading a good book?

Be advised that much of the words you hear are no more than opinions, too many of which are ill-formed or ill-informed. Opinionated voices seem to presume authority an ordinary person is not usually given, simply because they have the celebrity of a larger audience and more recognized reputation. People of some cultural notoriety – from fame or wealth or success – are not necessarily right or wise outside the parameters of their limited arena of achievement. Celebrity should not equate credibility. Popular culture is content with a plethora of words bearing a paucity of relevance. You cannot afford that to be true of you. Your words matter.

Jesus, “the Living Word,” understood that words matter. Jesus said, “The words I speak unto you are spirit and they are life.” John 6:63 NKJV. God’s Word is sovereign; His voice is singular, not to be compared or confused with any others. When Jesus’ teachings drew larger and larger enthusiastic crowds, the Pharisees felt threatened. To silence Him they sent Temple guards to arrest Him. At the Priests’ questioning of them upon returning without Jesus, the soldiers’ only explanation was, “No man ever spoke like this Man.” John 7:46 NKJV. How very true!

Jesus’ words made eternal difference in lives during His ministry, and the Word of God still has that same anointing today in hearts that love and obey truth. “When Jesus had finished saying these things, the crowds were amazed at His teaching, because He taught as one who had authority, and not as their teachers of the Law.” Matthew 7:28-29 NIV. When Jesus spoke, His words carried Heaven’s authority. Jesus’ words matter because He could say, “I don’t speak on My own authority. The Father . . gave Me His own instructions as to what I should say. And I know His instructions lead to eternal life; so I say whatever the Father tells me to say.” John 12:49-50 NLT. Do that and you will never go wrong. Don’t speak for God; let God speak through you.

Your voice matters to God; make sure your words bear His authority of truth. Intending to silence the young church, Jerusalem’s Jewish council, “They realized [Peter and John] had been with Jesus . . they commanded them not to speak at all in the name of Jesus.” Their response was as ours should be. “We cannot but speak the things which we have seen and heard.” Acts 4:13-20 NKJV. God’s Word should be so soundly and firmly in your heart that your words have the eternal consequence they could and should have.

My prayer for you today is that your words are life-giving and of eternal truth.

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