March 06, 2017
From the desk of A.J. Higgins
Be Thou an Example
“Be thou an example to the believers in word,
in conversation, in love, in faith, in purity”
1 Timothy 4: 12
Paul never exhorted believers to a standard of living to which he was a foreigner. All that he urged upon Timothy was true in his own life. He was an example to the believers in every compartment of life, and he remains an example to us of a godly, consecrated man.
Likewise, God does not demand of us anything which was not seen in its fullest in the life of His Son. All that we will ever develop of “fruit,” is but the life of Christ reproduced in us through the Spirit of God. As we consider the life of the Lord Jesus, think about:
His words were gracious words (Luke 4), unique words (John 8), words spoken in power (Luke 4:32). They were marvelous words (Luke 20:26), and life giving words. They were not only beautiful words but balanced words – words full of grace and truth.
They were words which brought healing and hope. They were words which dispelled disease and death. There were never idle words or words spoken in anger or haste. Every word was like an “apple of gold in pictures of silver” (Prov 25:11). The idea is something of precious value and enhanced by the setting in which it is found. Such were His words.
His Conversation or Manner of Life
He went about doing good; “He hath done all things well.” “I do always those things that please Him.” “Which of you convinces Me of sin?”
No sins of commission nor, more astonishingly, sins of omission. No need to lament lost opportunities of insensitivity to another. No inconsistent behavior or carelessness marked His life. Every moment of every day throughout the 33 years were lived to the pleasure of God. Before ever a miracle was performed or a sermon delivered, heaven was opened to own God’s pleasure in 30 years of quiet day-to-day living.
Our misunderstanding of the nature of faith hinders us from appreciating that His was the life of perfect faith. Rather than a leap into the unknown, faith is a total reliance upon the Word of God. He is the Author and Finisher of Faith (Heb 12:2). If it is impossible to please God apart from faith (Heb 11:6), think of how much pleasure the Father received from a live of perfect undisturbed faith!
The “New Commandment” is to love as Christ loved (John 13:34). His love is the ultimate standard and goal for each believer. A love that is totally selfless may be beyond us this side of heaven, but it is that for which we reach. To love not only selflessly, but sacrificially is to love as He loved. Can you comprehend a love which knows no ebb and flow, no input from the loved object to maintain its freshness and ardor? Can you fathom a love which knows no bounds, conditions, or subtle demands? Such is His love!
We are reminded that “He is pure” (1 John3:3). Every motive, affection, word, and deed was pure. It is as though the qualities and virtues mentioned earlier in the verse all are characterized by this one dominant feature – their purity. His words, behavior, faith, and love were all pure and unadulterated by all that mars our best efforts. In His matchless purity and beauty, He is not an example for our lives, but an object for our worship.
Think of other virtues which marked the Lord Jesus which become the standard for our lives.