Shining Example

I would like for you to think about something for a few minutes.  How are you REALLY living your day-to-day life?  Is it being lived in such a way that when others are around you they notice how you think, speak and act differently?  Or, do you just blend in with the crowd, regardless of what everyone else is thinking, saying and doing?

As Christians, we really are not supposed to just “blend in” with the crowd.  1 Peter 2:9-10 (CEV) says this:  “But you are God’s chosen and special people. You are a group of royal priests and a holy nation. God has brought you out of darkness into his marvelous light. Now you must tell all the wonderful things he has done. The Scriptures say, ‘Once you were nobody.  Now you are God’s people.  At one time no one had mercy on you.  Now God has treated you with kindness.’”

So who were those words written to?  “Peter wrote to a group of people that probably included both Jews and Gentiles.  The apostle addressed the letter’s recipients as ‘aliens’ (1:1), a word indicating that Peter was speaking not just to Jews or just to Gentiles but to Christians who were living their lives in such a way that they would have stood out as aliens among the surrounding culture.”  (Chuck Swindoll)

1 Peter 2:11-12 (NLT) says:  “Dear friends, I warn you as ‘temporary residents and foreigners’ to keep away from worldly desires that wage war against your very souls. Be careful to live properly among your unbelieving neighbors. Then even if they accuse you of doing wrong, they will see your honorable behavior, and they will give honor to God when he judges the world.”  In other words, as Christians, we should be shining examples to everyone that we meet.

As imperfect people, that is not an easy thing to do.  I personally tend to get judgmental at times and talk critically about others.  It is not my place to judge anyone – that is only for God.  Nor is it my place to think and speak critically of others – I likely have no idea what their life is like at any given moment.  They could be reacting to things in their life that have discouraged them, or hurt that has been inflicted upon them by situations or other people.  

Just because I live in this world, I do not have to be integrated into it – where I join in with criticism, gossip, foul language, etc. acting like the unsaved sinners in the world.  I must learn to be more merciful and understanding, empathetic and sympathetic, loving and forgiving.  I need to learn to be different from the crowd.  I cannot let the influences of a sinful world cause me to live in such a way that there is no distinction between myself and those that are unsaved.  I need to be a shining example as Jesus was during His time on this earth.

Daily I need to pray for strength and guidance from God – to take every thought that enters my mind captive so that if it is an errant thought, it does not become a sinful word or action.  I do not want to just “blend in”.  I want to live my life as an example to others – to be a light that shines on the goodness of God.  

So, our challenge is to live our lives like “God’s chosen and special people“, not like our “unbelieving neighbors”.  Then pray that our shining example will cause them to desire what we have in our lives. 

“Lighthouses blow no horns; they only shine.”  (D.L. Moody)

[All bold emphasis is mine]

Written by Karran Martin – April 22, 2023

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