“Let no man despise thy youth; but be thou an example of the believers, in word, in conversation, in charity, in spirit, in faith, in purity” 1Timothy 4:12
I have come to the conclusion that being an example radiates from our very being. It’s who we are, what we believe in, and how we act. There is good in everyone. Even though our beliefs may differ, we all radiate something. What is it that you radiate? What conviction shows forth from you that says “I AM AN EXAMPLE”? Can Christ depend on you to communicate a message? Is your life an epistle to be read of all men? Sometimes, these things sound far fetched, but they actually are not.
Every day, there are things that test our faith, small tests of integrity, sincerity, honesty and faithfulness; there is a cloud of witnesses watching to see if we are indeed believers. There are also many people who are not believers but have a very good understanding of what a believer’s life should be like. We live in a generation where God is calling us to preach with our conduct, before our words (oh, yes we are called to preach the word with our mouths, not only with our conduct). What attracts people to the God in us is what they see in and through us.
Sometime ago, I had some body work done on my car and after all the inconvenience, the car finally arrived. At close of business on the first day, I was still busy working at my desk when I got a phone call from a colleague to please come downstairs. Upon further enquiry, she said her driver had scratched my car. Now, first thing was that I imagined just how bad it could be and thought to myself ‘Oh no’, but then God gave me so much calm, and as I went downstairs, I decided to forgive whatever it was, no matter how bad the scratch was. It was sealed already…I was going to forgive and that’s just what I did. I just said to myself that could easily have been an overzealous bike rider or motorist scratch me badly in traffic, it could have been anything, and I let go.
I know it doesn’t sound like a big deal, but the next day, God told me clearly that often times, He needs our conduct to make a statement and we fail Him when we react out of the flesh. This is why Matt. 5:16 says, ‘let your light so shine before men that they may see your good deeds and praise your father in heaven.’ The good deeds are for them to praise your father in heaven because they acknowledge that only He could have worked in a human to react in such a ‘counter culture’ manner. Think about the times you have flared up and hurled insults at someone that offended you, when you could easily have managed it better if you let God! Think about the times someone else had to remind you that you were a child of God because your conduct said something else. Remember how embarrassed and ashamed that left you, simply because you were just not an example of the believer at that time, in your conversation, in your attitude. Simply because your speech was not seasoned with salt.
Honestly, I have learnt that if we let God, He does mould us, irrespective of what temperaments we have, He begins to act in us, contrary to our sinful nature, to glorify himself. At those times, you do not even struggle to lead a life of self control, seeing it is a fruit of the spirit which you reflect. That testimony is what leaves people in awe and draws them to Christ. The little things you do can make or break someone else’s convictions about the kingdom. Imagine hurling insults at someone when you are offended and then putting up a pious attitude the next day. You cannot even offer to share the word with that person if there is an opportunity to, you have failed God’s test and lost an opportunity to win a soul.
Can God count on your conduct to pass a message? Can He boast of you and have confidence in your reaction like He did Job? What in your life needs some fine tuning so you can be a better example of the believer? In what way are you giving out fresh and bitter water?
Make a list of those qualities that you love about yourself, and those that need some fine tuning, those that make you less than what you are called to be. Choose one of the qualities you need to work on, and work on it for the week.
And while you’re at it, don’t forget to smile!
God bless you