The words of exhortation to a young preacher Timothy from a seasoned servant, Paul provided great instruction then and still does today. The challenge was to be “an example to the believer” (I Tim. 4:12). This was a high calling for a young man, and a challenge to every Christian.
Be an example in word. A Christian’s word is his/her bond (Matt. 5:37). Jesus taught this from the beginning. When one of His speaks, it should be something worth saying (Col. 4:6). The culture of today seems to thrive on worthless drivel, and sad to say, damnable heresy. While the Truth may seem to get lost in the volume of words spoken, the Truth still must be spoken, and who will speak it if not Christians? God’s charge is to speak as His oracle (I Pet. 4:11) speaking His word without fear or favor. A prayer of discretion and applied wisdom can produce “a word fitly spoken” (Prov. 25:11) which may save a soul. What do your words say about you?
Practice what you preach! Ever heard that? It is to be an example in conversation which is manner of life. It has been said; “I would rather see a sermon than hear one, any day.” How about both? Speak it and live it or better still, live it and speak it as did Jesus (Acts 1:1). Let your light shine (Matt. 5:16). It is righteousness that exalts (Prov. 14:34) and provides an example for others to see and follow (II These. 3:9). Much like the Lord and Savior, the apostle Paul said to follow him as he followed Christ (I Cor. 11:1). Away with the false notion of “do as I say and not as I do.” When one is an example to the believer in life it is a higher calling. People are watching you dear Christian; your brethren are watching. Often those being watched fail to realize it, but there is someone watching you. Are you an example—an example to the believer? It should be that anyone can safely follow the example of a Christian to learn and obey Christ.
The greatest example to set before anyone is the example of charity (love). Jesus said it was the declaration of His disciples to the world (John 13:35), even more so to the believer, who sees and realizes fervent love (I Pet. 1:22). Fervent love for God through Christ Jesus is manifested in fervent love for one another. Being compassionate to one another (Matt. 18:33), and winning souls in the process (Jude 22) is the mark of an example in charity. The calling of the Holy Spirit through the words of Paul (I Cor. 13) is selfless love. Agape love is a challenge that keeps every faithful Christian reaching for better. It is the high calling of love not completely attainable but exemplary in that only one terrestrial being achieved it. Jesus is now returned to the right hand of God the Father. A high calling? You better believe it, and should motivate every day to be better in giving, caring, compassion, and sharing.
The Christian is called to a higher calling and not to the lowest depths of a sinful world. Being an example to the believer is a higher calling, still.