It Ain't Easy Bein' Me

Thursday, June 16, 2005

I am Not a Role Model!

Philippians 3:
10 I want to know Christ and the power of his resurrection and the fellowship of sharing in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death,

11 and so, somehow, to attain to the resurrection from the dead.
12 Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already been made perfect, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me.

13 Brothers, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead,
14 I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.
15 All of us who are mature should take such a view of things. And if on some point you think differently, that too God will make clear to you.

16 Only let us live up to what we have already attained.
17 Join with others in following my example, brothers, and take note of those who live according to the pattern we gave you.

“I am not a role model!” We heard NBA superstar Charles Barkley say it. Heck, I’ve said as much myself…very recently. My wording was more like, “hey, don’t look to me for your example. I’ll let you down every time. Look to Christ, not me.”

Well, that’s nothing but a cop out.

As Christians, we are examples, whether we want to be or not. Examples to the world looking at us to see if what we claim is real or if it’s just another pie in the sky fairy tale. Or, in some cases, examples to a world just waiting for and wanting us to stumble so they can “prove” it’s all a farce. And, maybe more importantly, we are examples to those younger in the faith than ourselves. Those that we’re not supposed to cause to stumble.

What I do find interesting, is that Paul in verse 12 and the first part of 13, readily admits he isn’t where he needs to be. I find that very comforting. It gives me hope. Maybe I’m not a total screw up after all. Maybe, if the apostle Paul was still stumbling and growing, it’s OK that I’m still stumbling and growing. However, he does go on to urge the Philippians to follow his example, in that he is striving to be better and closer to our Lord.

And that word “fellowship” in verse 10 means more than what we normally think of as “fellowship” in today’s terms. Today we use it to mean go sit and spend time with someone. It’s deeper than that. It means to know someone intimately, to have something deep in common with them you can talk about and understand of each other. Something special that one who doesn’t have that understanding could never relate to. Paul is searching for, and urging us to seek, a deeper relationship with our Lord.

So, from now on I’ll say something more like, “Follow me when I walk in the Spirit and try to grow and know Him in a deeper way, but do not imitate me when I mess up. Pray for me that my imperfections will become less and my Christ-like attributes will become more. Follow me when I follow Him. Pray for me when I don’t.”

I need to work on being a better role model, and I need to remind myself that I’m setting an example whether I want to claim to be one or not. The question is no longer whether I’m an example to the world and to those who may not be so mature spiritually, the question is, “Am I a good example or a bad example?” That’s the question.

Will you join me in trying to be a better example? And will you pray for me to be a better example?

Monday, June 06, 2005

Jiminy Cricket Was Wrong

"Let your conscience be your guide." How many times have we heard that in our life? We've been told as long as we can remember to let our conscience be a compass for us.

Wrong answer.

Dr. J. Vernon McGee accurately points out that our conscience will let us do things that the Holy Spirit will not. My conscience will let me seek justice (as my human mind sees it should be, by the way), whereas the Holy Spirit forces me to consider extras...little things like mercy, grace, love and forgiveness.

My conscience will allow me to lie, cheat, steal, fight...whatever I need to go to extract justice in a situation.

The Holy Spirit won't allow me to do that without harrassing me about it.

I suppose if you're not a Christian, letting your conscience be your guide is about the best you can do. But if the Living and True God dwells inside you, you have an infinitely more accurate compass. Use it.