At a recent lunch meeting with some other ministers, my friend Terry Strickler shared the following story: Perhaps you’ve heard about the young man who wanted to be married in the worst way. He met a girl and became very fond of her, so he took her to meet his parents. But his mother didn’t like her. So, he broke up with her. He went out and searched high and low until he found another girl and brought her home. His mother didn’t like her, either. Frustrated but undeterred the young man searched for a girl who looked like his mother, talked like his mother, and dressed like his mother. In every way, this girl was just like his mother. Then his father didn’t like her.
Like it or not, people are making evaluations about God according to the way we live as followers of Jesus. Being a disciple is walking with Jesus in such a way that you get to say to someone else, “Follow my example.” I know that we mess up sometimes. But that doesn’t excuse us from being examples. The apostle Paul said, “Follow my example, as I follow the example of Christ” (1 Corinthians 11:1).
What if the church were filled with people just like you? What if everyone in the church were exactly like you? Would our church be joyful and united, or would it be discouraging and critical? What if everyone in the church read the Bible as faithfully as you do? Would we be a Bible studying church? What if everyone in the church worshipped God just like you do? Would we be a worshipping church?
What if everyone in the church gave of their finances as faithfully as you do? Would we have a supported church? What if everyone in the church shared the gospel as often as you do? Would our church be growing as new people were introduced to the life-transforming presence of Jesus? What would the church be like? What if other believers were just like you? As believers we should be living godly lives in such a way that we could say, as the apostle Paul did, “Follow my example, as I follow the example of Christ.”
Jesus is our identity and example! Let him inform your attitudes, words, and life.