October 13, 2009

Learning From Examples

Philippians 4:2-9

Whatever you have learned … or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice.
Philippians 4:9


Most parents learn that the best way to teach their children is by setting an example. In healthy families, we learn a lot about right and wrong, good and bad, by simply watching our parents or older siblings. This is also true in our relationships in the church, where more experienced brothers and sisters in Christ gently show us the way or teach us what we need to know.

In our Scripture reading for today, Paul pleads with the members of God’s family in Philippi to settle their conflict and “be of the same mind in the Lord.” A reliable formula for family unity! Paul added more encouragement, urging everyone to “rejoice in the Lord” and let their gentleness be seen by all. We realize that rejoicing and gentleness cannot be taught easily; they’re much better caught by example.

It’s our privilege and responsibility as fellow believers to be examples to others. Paul’s own life must have shown joy and gentleness for him to use himself as an example to follow. It’s not a matter of just learning what the Bible teaches about such attitudes. What counts is putting them into practice. Like Paul, we’ve got to live in such a way that we can say, “Learn what I teach—by example!” A sense of what’s right and what’s wrong is a wonderful and necessary thing to know. What kind of example are you?

Lord, you are our example of love and compassion. Empower us with your Holy Spirit to live in such a way that others may see Christ living in us always. In his name, Amen.

About the author — George Vink

Pastor George Vink has served as a pastor in the Christian Reformed Church for more than 30 years in British Columbia, Montana, Michigan, and California. He and his wife, Shirley, have four married sons and nine grandchildren.

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