… set an example for the believers in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith and in purity. 1 Timothy 4:12
Christians are called to be good role models and the world is desperately short of these. God sees great value in using role models to teach others because modelling can be a more effective tool than teaching. Teaching requires that people are receptive, interested, and paying attention. Whereas modelling is absorbed unconsciously—we learn almost by accident as we watch others live out their Christian beliefs.
I read a quote on a desk calendar which said that while children may fail to listen to us, they never fail to imitate us. Likewise, we find young Christians in our churches imitating those who are older in the faith. It’s God’s design that older Christians set the example.
A church community provides the perfect opportunity for Christian role modelling to take place. By spending time with people who think differently to us, we expand our understanding of what Christian faith looks like in other contexts. We grow in our faith when we have role models of varying ages and from different walks of life. However, it’s not always a role we’re eager to embrace. We may not feel qualified. It’s quite a challenge—we are being watched.
Nevertheless being a role model is a task to be taken seriously. What impression am I giving young Christians if I’m always complaining, or worried, or stressed? What’s my attitude telling them about God? To be a good role model doesn’t mean we have to be perfect. Young Christians aren’t looking for perfection, rather they’re looking for signs of growth.
Are we setting a good example, in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith and in purity?