Find a Model, Be a Model
"I have set the example, and you should do for each other exactly what I have done for you." (John 13:15 CEV)
Have you ever used a pattern? If you've ever sewn anything or done any woodwork, you've used a pattern. It's the quickest way to reduce mistakes, save time, and learn better. In fact, the fastest way to succeed in life is to find somebody who is already where you want to be and follow his or her model. You don't have time to make all the mistakes yourself! If you watch their lives, you'll see the clues that made them successful.
Why was Jesus the greatest teacher ever in history? Because he modeled his message. He didn't just say it. He lived it out. He incarnated the truth. The word became flesh, and Jesus' life was his message. He said, "This is how you do it," and then he did it.
In John 13:15 he said this: "I have set the example, and you should do for each other exactly what I have done for you" (CEV). Jesus says, "I want you to follow my model, and then I want you to be a model." As a Christ follower, God expects you to do just that - follow Christ's example.
The problem is, growing up, you didn't get to choose your model. Your models as a kid were simply the adults that were closest to you. That could be good, bad, or terrible. If you were fortunate enough to have good models in your life, you grew up pretty healthy. On the other hand, if you had some bad models in your life, you grew up with some wounds and hurts and some quirks that maybe need to be worked out.
Nobody's totally perfect. We all have imperfections we've picked up from models. Here's the good news: You get to choose your model now. You don't have to stay with the ones you had as a kid. You can choose a new model. You can go out and read books and read biographies and get into contact with people. You see somebody in the church and go, "I like the way he's doing that. I want to be a father like that person. I want to be a husband like that person, not like my dad." It's your choice now.
Who do you respect enough to pattern your life after? If you can't think of anybody, then you're not looking. There are thousands of people around. That's why we need each other. That's the value of small groups. You can learn from anybody if you just know the right questions. Look for somebody who's going through stages or has already gone through stages you're going through now.
Here's the more important question: Who do you need to be a model to? In what areas could you be a model for somebody else? You need to have models, and you need to be a model. Titus 3:14 says, "Our people should also learn how to set an example by doing good things when urgent needs arise so that they can live productive lives" (GW).
Talk It Over
- What shared experiences are you looking for in a potential model for your life?
- In what areas could you be a model for somebody else?