Author’s Note: Interested readers can find all previous volumes of this series here.
In our culture, there is an unfortunate trend, as stated in this October 2019 Pew Research Center headline: “In U.S., Decline of Christianity Continues at Rapid Pace.” Naturally, this means fewer people will be attending church and studying the Bible.
However, those of us who believe in Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior are steadfast in our faith and strive to operationalize our love for Him by being “Christ-like” in all we do. That sentiment points to ‘Christ in you the hope of glory,” as recorded in Colossians 1:27. And that leads us to continuously ask, “Am I comporting myself in such a manner that is Christ-like in all that I do?”
With “Christ in us,” we are motivated to be role models. We want to stand out and stand up when needed. Every day through our actions, words, and encouragement to others, we desire to boldly proclaim and live our faith. (At least that is our goal.)
When thinking about writing this “leading by example” Bible Study theme, a song popped into my head (always a good sign.) The title is “They’ll Know We Are Christians By Our Love,” written by Peter Scholtes in the 1960s.
Scholtes was reportedly inspired by John 13:35, “By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” The song grew in popularity and recorded by several well-known Christian artists. The version performed by the group “for King and Country” was the soundtrack for the 2015 TV mini-series, "A.D. The Bible Continues." Watch and listen here.
Now we continue our Bible Study with some passages I selected that hopefully will inspire you to be a Christian who leads by example. Keep these passages handy for when you fall short but want to stay motivated, so “they will know you are a Christian by your love.”
Follow my example, as I follow the example of Christ (1 Corinthians 11:1).
…set an example for the believers in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith and in purity (1 Timothy 4:12).
Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me, put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you (Philippians 4:9).
For at one time you were darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light (for the fruit of light is found in all that is good and right and true), and try to discern what is pleasing to the Lord (Ephesians 5: 8-10).
Since an overseer manages God’s household, he must be blameless—not overbearing, not quick-tempered, not given to drunkenness, not violent, not pursuing dishonest gain (Titus 1:7).
In everything set them an example by doing what is good. In your teaching show integrity, seriousness (Titus 2:7).
To this you were called, because Christ suffered for you, leaving you an example, that you should follow in his steps (1 Peter 2:21).
Then, the ultimate in leading by example from an Old Testament passage that might sound familiar:
The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me, because the Lord has anointed me to bring good news to the poor; he has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to those who are bound; (Isaiah 61:1).
Jesus so loved and identified with this passage that he preached it in the synagogue. Here it is in context from the Gospel of Luke:
And he came to Nazareth, where he had been brought up. And as was his custom, he went to the synagogue on the Sabbath day, and he stood up to read. And the scroll of the prophet Isaiah was given to him. He unrolled the scroll and found the place where it was written,
"The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim liberty to the captives and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed, to proclaim the year of the Lord's favor."
And he rolled up the scroll and gave it back to the attendant and sat down. And the eyes of all in the synagogue were fixed on him (Luke 4:16-20).
Finally, I cannot resist concluding with this “leading by example” passage — fully expecting backlash from some of my most passionate commenters:
As for the one who is weak in faith, welcome him, but not to quarrel over opinions (Romans 14:1).