As a child, many godly men and women intentionally invested their time into my life. Most of these were members of the local church congregation in my neighborhood. They made sacrifices to ensure there was an example of Christ-likeness available for me and others to pattern our lives after. I consider these great ‘heroes,’ not only of my childhood, but my entire life.
Think about this question D. A. Carson asks of his readers.
“Do we encourage new believers in Jesus Christ with the words, ‘If you want to know what Christianity looks like, look at me’?”
I know, it almost sounds arrogant. But is it biblical? What it seems he’s asking is, as believers, are we secure enough in our faith to offer our visible walk with Christ as an example for younger Christians to follow?
The Great Commission anticipates our role-modeling of the Christian life before younger converts, so they in turn become examples for others. After promising His followers that He had been given all authority, Jesus instructed His disciples to make more disciples. (Matthew 28:18-20).
Jesus wanted His disciples to teach and model His words and life to others. Consider the sentence structured this way. “While you are going, make disciples!”
Paul once encouraged his hearers, “Follow my example, as I follow the example of Christ” (1 Corinthians 11:1). We see this demonstrated in his relationship with Timothy. Paul knew there were plenty of bad examples available, so he instructed Timothy to choose his mentors wisely. He told him, “Watch me.” (2 Timothy 3, 4)
We live in a day of ridiculously blotched moral values. Even the law defends iniquity and immorality. The heroes who are applauded and followed in our culture seldom consider the paths they forge for their admirers. Our young are susceptible to heroes who demonstrate an inadequate perception of truth.
As Paul knew his time was short, his primary goal became leaving behind more than a legacy of his own life and ministry. He knew someone had to take the baton from his hand and continue the good fight.
This is no less true today. We are called to be disciples… and to make disciples for our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. We’re not perfected, and we shouldn’t claim to be… but if we walk by faith, and live in the grace afforded to us by the blood of Jesus, we desire that others do also.
[An added note: The movie, ‘Courageous’ is an awesome encouragement to fathers to step up and be the role-model of Jesus’s love before their children. I encourage all to see this excellent film!]
[Question quoted: From the Resurrection to His Return (Living Faithfully in the Last Days) – Don Carson]