The Power of Example


Jesus has come by His Spirit to live in you and through you so you can be the example He wants you to be.

Let no one look down on your youthfulness, but rather in speech, conduct, love, faith and purity, show yourself an example of those who believe—1 Timothy 4:12.

I am a visual learner.  I have to see something in mind to be able to really understand it. 

If I cannot see it or at least envision it, the idea, concept or instruction will remain fuzzy to me.   

I think lots of people are visual learners.  That is why illustrations are so effective in sermons; they help people see the point being conveyed.  If people can picture it, they can grasp it.  


Without a doubt, the best illustration of the Christian life is a Christian really living it out.  Paul told young Pastor Timothy to live a life of example… to be a living breathing illustration of what a Christian is—a person who honors and glorifies God in the way they talk… walk… act… react… love others… and believe/trust God.  Example gets people’s attention far better than the best sermon ever preached.     

Years ago, I heard a great poem by one of my favorite speakers, Guy Doud, 1986 Teacher of the Year.  It goes something like this…

I’d rather see a sermon than hear one any day.

I’d rather you go with me than merely point the way.

The eye is a more ready pupil than ever was the ear;

Good advice is often confusing, but example is always clear.

I’d rather see a sermon than hear one any day.


There is only one reason that God leaves us on this earth after we come to know Him as Savior and Lord: to be His witnesses (Acts 1:8).  And the best way we witness is through example.  If we “talk” Christianity and do not “walk” Christianity, we are viewed as hypocrites (play actors), and rightly so.  We turn people off to Jesus if they perceive we are not genuine, honest and sincere in our relationship with Christ.  But, if our walk matches our talk, we make an impact on the lives of people.


Many years ago when I was working in chemical sales, I went to a bachelor party for one of the sales guys in my office.  We were having fun playing cards, eating, and hanging out.  Then someone said, “Hey, let’s go to the strip joint!”  I knew that I could not do that.  I politely declined.  My boss said something to the effect that I needed to go and be part of the team (they were all going).  I said that I could not go.  He said, “Just go… and don’t look!”  Uhmmm… I do not think that would have worked for me.  I again politely declined and went home. 

The next week at work, two of the guys at the party (both Christians) talked to me about my not going to the strip joint.  They said they were so impressed that I stood up for what was right.  They said they wished they had said “no” too.  God used that situation in both their lives to convict them, challenge them, and draw them closer in their walk with Jesus Christ.  What made the difference for them?  The power of example!


There are people in your office, home, neighborhood, school and church who are watching you to see if you are for real.  They are listening to how you talk and how you walk.  And Jesus has come by His Spirit to live in you… so He can live through you… so you can be the example He wants you to be.   

Surrender to Him and His will today so that your life can shine like the sun for the Son of God.  As Jesus said, “Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven” (Matt. 5:16).

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