1 Thessalonians 1:4-7
For we know, brothers loved by God, that he has chosen you, because our gospel came to you not only in word, but also in power and in the Holy Spirit and with full conviction. You know what kind of men we proved to be among you for your sake. And you became imitators of us and of the Lord, for you received the word in much affliction, with the joy of the Holy Spirit, so that you became an example to all the believers in Macedonia and in Achaia.
I suppose some might be content to never be an example to others. It is legitimate to think—like I have at times—that I don’t need the extra pressure, living my life is enough of a challenge. Maybe you have thought those things, too. But by default, we are examples. And, to lay it right out there, we really only have two options as far as being an example is concerned: we are either a good one or a bad one. What will you prove to be?
In 1 Thessalonians 1:4-7, we read that the believers had become great examples to their Christian brothers, as well as to those outside the church. And Paul, in his letter to them, noted that they “became imitators of us and of the Lord.” He commended them for this. I’m wondering if the same could be said of each of us. Are we being a godly example? Even more than this, do we see how important it is that we are godly example?
There’s no hope of us accomplishing this unless we realize that it is because of what God has done for us. First, He loves us. Notice Paul addresses them as “brothers, loved of God.” God loves you and God love me. Wow. There are no greater words that could be spoken. Despite our sin and rebellion toward Him, He still loves us. Awesome!
Second, we see that “He has chosen you.” Paul’s readers were struggling with their assurance of salvation and Paul reinforces the idea that if we are chosen by God, we need not fear losing His love and salvation. Third, Paul speaks “in word.” Our God is not detached and uninvolved. Nor is He some impersonal force. Our God is the One who created all things and Who moved toward us to reveal Himself and redeem and restore us.
Finally, He indwells us “in power, and in the Holy Spirit." Jesus promised His followers at His departure from the earth that He would send the Holy Spirit, leaving them “clothed with power”(Luke 24:49), also “to baptize”(Acts 1:5), “come upon” (Acts 1:8), and “fill” them(Acts 2:4). When God has us as His dwelling place, we cannot help but radiate His glory and goodness in this world. We cannot help but be a godly example.
Sometimes, we are the only Bible others will ever read. Our actions will always speak louder than the words we say to others. We continually present the Good News with our life and choices, sometimes we speak.
Our legacy can only be written by us. We can be influenced in the choices we make. However, we are the ones who make our choices. This includes the choices we let others make for us.