Are You a Clear and Godly Example?
Keep putting into practice all you learned from me and heard from me and saw me doing, and the God of peace will be with you. (Phillipians 4:9)(NLT)
John Calvin once declared, "Meditation precedes, then work follows." Yesterday we considered thoughts. This verse speaks of deeds.
What should the Phillippians "do"? They are to do what Paul says. Those things you have learned and received, refer to his public teaching. They are also to do what Paul does. "Those things you have heard and seen in me" concern his private example.
Why follow Paul's example? Why tell them as he does in Phillippians 3:17, "Brethren, be followers together of me." Should he not rather instruct them to imitate Christ?
No written records of our Lord's life and ministry existed in those days. How could recent converts from paganism have any idea of Christian conduct unless they saw it demonstrated in flesh and blood? Paul believed that his deeds, as well as his words, had testified to his Lord. Elsewhere he exclaims, "Be ye followers of me, even as I also am of Christ" (1 Cor. 11:1).
Our responsibility today is just as great. We have the written gospels, but most people ignore them.
We are the only Bible the careless world will read;
We are the sinner's Gospel, we are the scoffer's creed;
We are the Lord's last message written in deed and word---
What if the line is crooked? What if the type is blurred?
Do others get a clear view of the Gospel when they "read" our lives? Or is the picture distorted? Let us aspire always and everywhere to "be....an example of the believers, in word, in conversation (conduct), in charity, in spirit, in faith, in purity" (1 Tim. 4:12)
Draw Thou my soul, O Christ, closer to Thine
Breathe into every wish Thy will divine!
Raise my low self above, won by Thy deathless love;
Ever, O Christ, through mine let Thy life shine.
(by Dr. Stuart R. Schimpf)