Instruction Says, "Follow Me!"
As You sent Me into the world, I also have sent them. John 17:18
Paul's parents referred him to me (David) after he had repeatedly sneaked out of his bedroom to join his friends for a night of mischief and pranks. Of most concern to his parents was that Paul refused to accept responsibility for his actions. "We want him to see the wrong of his actions and apologize for the worry and sleepless nights he's caused us," they insisted. But Paul wouldn't budge. He only regretted that he had gotten caught.
In one family session, I asked Paul, "When was the last time someone apologized in your family?" The silence was telling. His parents squirmed on the couch. Finally Paul responded, "The adults don't ever have to apologize, only the kids. I've never even heard Mom or Dad apologize to each other." We were all reminded that day that example is the best teacher.
Christ did not say, "Do as I say, not as I do." His instruction was first and foremost through His life and His example. This is a part of the meaning behind Jesus' prayer in John 17. He prayed out loud so the disciples could hear His interactions with the Father. He wanted them to know that just as God had sent Him into the world, He was sending them out. Christ confirmed His life as an example to the disciples and then encouraged them to follow that example.
In our marriages one of the most effective tools for instruction is example. As I live to please and honor our heavenly Father and concentrate on the changes He wants to make in me, I communicate this positive mes¬sage to my spouse: "Follow me in this area because God is doing a great work."
In what areas do you need to give better instruction by being a better example to your spouse and to your children?
Father, keep me mindful of the example I set for others.