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Exemplary Living

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 (NASB)

Puritan Thomas Brooks said, “Example is the most powerful rhetoric…”  Paul tells us to set an example in 1 Timothy 4:12.  Tupos is the Greek word for ‘example’ and it literally means an imprint or impression.  The word is used in John 20:25 in reference to the scars upon the hands of Jesus from His Cross.  Thomas said:

Unless I see in His hands the imprint of the nails, and put my finger into the place of the nails, and put my hand into His side, I will not believe.  John 20:25 (NASB)

God has called us to set a thorough example and make an impact with every area of our lives.  Paul mentions five ways in which we can set an example for others: speech; conduct; love; faith; purity.

Set an example in speech.  What we say matters.  This involves our choice of words, the content of our words and the delivery of our words.  According to researchers, on an average day we open our mouths 700 times, using about 18,000 words.  Does our speech reflect our relationship with Christ?  What are the general sorts of words that come out of our mouths daily?  Do they build others up or tear them down?  Do they encourage others or cast a generally negative light on things?  Are they words marked by gratitude because of all Christ has done for us or do we grumble?

Set an example in conduct.  Our lifestyle must be worthy of the gospel and calling we have received.  How do we treat others?  How we react when we are wronged?  When others observe our behaviour, can they conclude that we are people of integrity?

Set an example in love.  This type of love is sacrificial and unconditional.  Do we show a love for God and our neighbour?  Do others see love demonstrated in our lives?  Others will know we are Christians by the way we love each other.  Peter says:

…love one another deeply, from the heart.  1 Peter 1:22 (NIVUK)

Set an example in faith.  We need to “hold fast the profession of our faith”.  We need to allow our unwavering faith in God and in His Word to be seen by all.  Do our lives exhibit faith in Christ?  Are they marked by faith and confidence in God?  Are we “full of faith”?

Set an example in purity.  Jesus tells us in the Sermon on the Mount that the pure in heart shall see God.  We need to be diligent in guarding our purity.

How can a young man keep his way pure?
By living according to your word.  Psalm 119:9-11 (WEB)

We can live on a higher level, not according to the world but according to the Word.  Are we living on a higher level?  Are our motives and intentions pure?

We need to rise up as examples and be the light in the darkest places.