We hear a lot of talk about there being a need for good role models in our society. So what kind of role model are you? A role model is someone who sets an example through their own life and conduct. This example influences others for good or ill. So in your sphere of influence, whether that be at school, work, home, church or wherever, what kind of influence are you providing? Do people look at you and conclude that you are living a life that is worth emulating? Paul encouraged Timothy to be such an example among Christians when he said set an example for the believers in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith and in purity (1. Tim. 4:12b). Let us pick up that exhortation to Timothy and ponder upon what kind of example we are to others in the church.
Paul infers that everything in Timothy’s life should recommend God to others. It is not about him being popular and winning the favour of others. Rather it is about him (and us) so reflecting the Lord Jesus that we bring honour to God. We live in a world where we are encouraged to impress others through our achievements. This kind of thinking can so easily affect the church. Accordingly, if we have an effective ministry or church then people are encouraged to follow us as regards to how that ministry / church has became effective. Through these things we are considered to be a good example. Such may be the case, but Paul has a bigger priority.
Paul’s primary desire for Timothy does not focus upon his ministry, but rather upon his character. Quite simply Timothy is urged to be an example in:-
- The content and manner of his speech. He is to be a man who heeds Proverbs 10:19 Sin is not ended by multiplying words, but the prudent hold their tongues.
His displaying godliness in his conduct. Anyone observing his life (and ours) should conclude that here is someone not living according to the ways of this world. God’s Word is determining their lifestyle and not contemporary thinking.
The way he shows self-sacrificial love. Timothy is to live in such a way as to demonstrate that he is living for the benefit of others. Love is “the king fruit” among the fruit of the Spirit (see Gal. 5:22-23) and must be evidenced in his life. And it should be in ours.
Being a man who is known to have his trust is in God. He is not a self-made or a self-trusting man. He is to be God-trusting, realising that it is only in dependence upon God that he can truly live.
How he is to be a man who shuns evil and loves purity. Purity has a bad image nowadays because it is portrayed as drab and boring. But true purity is beautiful. It reflects the beauty of God, who is the ultimate pure, holy (and certainly not boring) being.
Feltham Evangelical Church needs great servers of God, but of even greater importance are great livers for God. We need more of those who devote themselves to fellowship with the Lord. I say that because the five characteristics mentioned are all sourced somewhere; they originate somewhere. They originate in a soul which is set upon God. It is the one who is walking in the Spirit who has these things in their lives.
So through you learning of God’s Word, praying to and worshipping the Lord, and fellowshipping with God’s people you need to keep on knowing the Spirit moving in your life. And then consistently godly conduct will emerge in your life. The church of God needs such examples. So go and be radical, go and live for God, go walk in the Spirit and be a great demonstrator of God in every sphere that you influence. Through that you will have a blessed life, you will be a great role model to others and an example that many should follow.
(Taken from the Feltham Evangelical Church newsletter of July 2016)