I suppose that one of the hardest thing for us as Christians to do is to live by example. It is easy to quote scripture, write it out for a friend or loved one and sit smugly by while they see the error of their ways. We are Living Epistles. We might just possibly be the only Bible a person will ever read. Are we setting a Bible example?
How often do we hear someone say, "Excuse my French, but . . ."? Why the need for excuse in the first place? Is it that we can't or don't want to give that up? Are we screaming or belittling another person with one side of our mouth and saying "God Bless You" out of the other? We are Christ's ambassadors here on earth.
Why is it so hard to live by example? I think part of it is the free will our Father gave us when He created us. He wants us to be more like Him, but He won't force us. The truth is, that if we want others to come to Christ (I certainly do), we need to show them why the Christian life is better. We can't be stealing or lying or cheating or swearing or any of those things. We have to give back the extra money when they give us too much change at the store. We also have to tell them when they didn't charge us enough. Of course we can also tell them when they have overcharged - but we don't have to show anger for it.
I got angry at a customer yesterday. She was verbally abusive and I was in a hurry to get to my doctor's appointment. I tried my best to explain things to her, but she was using my words to try to trap me. There's no reason I shouldn't be upset. It was my reaction to her that was wrong. I let the devil have the victory. She wasn't going to change who she was for me. I needed to stay who I was for her. All she remembers now is the angry woman at the storage locker. How better for the Lord if she had remembered a kindness.
I'm not putting myself down. Although I am a bit disappointed in me, I can live with my mistake. I will apologize to her if I see her again. I'll use the seemingly bad to my advantage and seek to do better next time.
There are may places in the Bible where it says that we cannot serve two masters. We cannot hang on to the old way of life and serve God. We need to be willing to let go of our way of doing things and do it His way. there's no second-guessing God. He's the creator. We aren't going to hide any tiny sin from Him. He knows before we do it. He's just waiting to see if we can resist.
I used to keep books in my house that I read when I was younger. Some of them were demonic in nature thrillers or spiritually wierd stuff. I also hung on to some stuff about witches. The Bible tells us to get that stuff out of our homes (tents) and not to consort with the devil. I thought it was harmless. These things were a spiritual stumbling block for me. The devil's bait to get me to turn my back on God. As well, I couldn't very well teach about God while I was holding my old life in my hands.
This is what I mean by living by example. For myself, I can't have a picture of Freddy Kruger (sp) on my wall and tell my neighbor that I love Jesus and want him to do the same. It's a bad example. I need to be willing to let it all go. So here's what I'm saying:
Be willing. Be ready in season and out to be a Christian. Use everything you have to share the gospel. Don't be afraid. Clean your house and your mind. Get the cobwebs and the junk out. Let your light shine.
Mat 5:14 Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hid.
Mat 5:15 Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house.
Mat 5:16 Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works,and glorify your Father which is in heaven.