“The other day,” Stan began one morning, “I was looking at the apostle Paul’s first letter to his friend Timothy, and I saw a simple statement that struck me as something we are all supposed to do, but way too often I do it backwards.”
“Backwards? What were you looking at?”
“What Paul wrote about was his encouragement for Timothy to be an example of someone who believes.”
“An example in what way?” I asked.
“Well,” Stan replied, it was ‘ways’ rather than ‘way’, but what Paul covered was Timothy’s speech, conduct, love, faith, and purity.”
“That seems to cover just about everything,” I commented. “What a person says, what a person does, and how the person manifests love, faith, and purity.”
“You’re right,” Stan replied. “Just about everything, and that’s where I get it backwards too often.”
“How so?” I asked.
“It seems to me that Paul, without saying so, was encouraging Timothy to be a good example of the things he mentioned. Way too often I tend to be a good example of the opposite.”
“Like a good bad example?” I asked. “How so?
“Let’s just look at the first thing Paul mentioned, speech, or what I say. All I have to do is recollect what I say and compare it to the standard of whether it is an example of what a person who claims to be a Christian should say. Too often I fall short. Rather than being a good example of a Christian, I’m a good bad example of the opposite.”
“I see what you mean,” I replied. “Any suggestion as to how to avoid that?”
“Well,” Stan replied, “that’s another story for another day, but a person can always look at what Paul wrote in a different letter about taking every thought captive to the obedience of Christ.”
“Oh,” I said, “if I take every thought captive to the obedience of Christ, what comes out of my mouth will be an example of what a Christian should say. Is that it?”
“Sure seems like to me!” Stan replied with a smile.
Bible verses to consider:
Let no one look down on your youthfulness, but rather in speech, conduct, love, faith and purity, show yourself an example of those who believe. 1 Timothy 4:12.
We are taking every thought captive to the obedience of Christ. 2 Corinthians 10:5.
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. Now those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. Galatians 5:22-24.
Prayer: Thank you, Father, for the provision of Christ so I can know I will spend eternity in your presence when it’s time. Thank you, too, for the Holy Spirit who lives in me to help me live the Christian life you have for me on this side of eternity. I confess that too often I am not the example of a Christian that you intend for me. I do that because I don’t surrender to the leading of the Holy Spirit and I choose to do what I want to do apart from you. Please forgive that foolishness. Please help me in following every step of your lead so I am, in fact, the example of a Christian that you intend for me to be, one that you will use for your purposes. Thank you that I can and do bring these prayers before you in the name of Jesus. Amen.
Think on this: Have you accepted God’s free and gracious gift of life eternally with Him when it’s time? If no, why? If you have accepted God’s provision, how are you doing with being surrendered to the Holy Spirt that each believer has been given? Is your life a good example of what a Christian should manifest in what you say and do? Or are you an example of something else? If you sense the need for change in what you say and manifest, that change can and will come from surrender to the Holy Spirit and His help. Is that what you want? Why or why not?