“Now all these things happened to them as examples, and they were written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the world are come” (1 Corinthians 10:11). The power of example can lead one to do good or evil. Whether we realize it we are following some example. It behooves us to choose wisely when it comes to following someone. In what direction are they headed? If we follow them what will be our destiny?
Jesus left an example of SERVICE. “For I have given you an example, that you should do as I have done unto you” (John 13:15). Jesus had assumed the menial task of washing His disciples’ feet. What a lowly task! It was a service that none of the others had volunteered to do. Jesus came to “minister” (Mark 10:45. He came to do the Father’s will and save man (John 9:4; Luke 19:10). He took upon himself the “form of a servant” (Philippians 2:2-8). What a great example for us to follow. We need to be servants of God. Elders are servants; deacons are servants; preachers are servants; all Christians are to be servants. Following the example of Jesus will make us better servants.
Paul wrote Timothy about an example that is to be SEEN. “Let no one despise your youth, but be an example to the believers in word, in conduct, in love, in spirit, in faith, in purity” (1 Timothy 4:12). Faith cannot be hidden. God desires our faith (our good works—Matthew 6:13-16) to be seen before men. Timothy’s example was to be evident before the believers (fellow saints). Can there be anything such as a “secret saint”? Would we want someone following our example when it came to speech? What about our conduct, love, spirit, faith, and purity? Someone probably is following our example. Are we giving them a good one to emulate?
The Hebrew writer reminds us of an example of SADNESS. “Let us therefore be diligent to enter that rest, lest anyone fall according to the same example of disobedience” (Hebrews 4:11). Here is a case of following the wrong way. The Israelites had opportunity after opportunity to follow God. They continually chose to follow after the gods of the countries around them (see the book of Judges). This example shows us that there are consequences to the choices we make. Things could have been so good for Israel. God desired to abundantly bless them. What will happen to us if we follow the same example of disobedience?
Jesus gives us an example of endurance through SUFFERING. “For to this you were called, because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that you should follow His steps” (1 Peter 2:21). Would we willingly follow an example that meant it would cause us to suffer? Jesus did this very thing. His example will help us when we suffer. We are counted blessed when we “suffer for righteousness sake” (Matthew 5:11-12). James wrote about the “example of suffering and patience” of Job (James 5:10). Jesus’ example helps us make it through all the difficulties of this life. Godly living brings persecution (2 Timothy 3:12). Whose example will we follow when we need to get through problems?
Let us not only follow the right example, but let us be the right example for others.