Be thou an example of the believers, in word, in conversation, in charity, in spirit, in faith, in purity” (1 Timothy 4:12).
When solving maths, you are taught the concept and then examples are used to apply the concept. Afterward, you are given tasks to test what you have learned. Most times, you have to go back to the examples to help you work through the tests. Na so life be….
As a young Christian many years ago, I walked up to a big brother in the faith to ask questions about sexual purity. It was at the time that I just came of age and my testosterone wanted to send me on errands that were ungodly. As you are already aware, puberty is a confusing time.
Unfortunately, my big brother could not give me a definite answer or a pathway to stay sexually pure. We ended the conversation in a way that showed that there is no solution to raging testosterone. He told me that in the scriptures we are admonished to confess our sins when we fall into sin. That was his solution. It sounded logical and reasonable but I felt there was a better way. Unfortunately, again, I did not know what that better way was. So the struggle continued. I did not know if victory was acerta.
In April 1997, I got admitted into the University of Benin. Another big brother had given me a letter and told me to join a fellowship that will transform my life. The name of the fellowship — Light of Christ Community. I had no option but to take heed to his advice and I did as he said. The first time I went to fellowship, it was like any other place. Young people leading young people. Just normal. “Normal normal” as we would say. The good feedback was that I was warmly welcomed.
Then I continued coming and what struck me was the joy that the members possessed. It was coming from within. You could not fake it for this long. I also noticed the purity of relationships amongst the brethren. I did not ask anyone about sexual purity. I saw it lived out and it made me believe it was possible. Examples everywhere and hence I just flowed with them. Oh, they were fervent in the spirit, serving the Lord.
The brethren, both brothers and sisters, visited. They all asked what I needed to settle in as a new student. I was a newbie, far from home. They knew that. Nobody took advantage of moi. Rather, they all wanted to help.
An example makes things easy.
An example makes the hard tasks solvable.
An example leaves clues.
An example shows the path.
We are to live like Christ so that we can provide an example to others. This enables them to see and witness that the Christian life is livable. Our lives are to provide pathways to godly living for others.
Most people do not bother with the Christian way of life because they believe that it is not tenable. “Only Christ the son of God can live that way”, they say. “Na who dem catch be sinner” is what they believe. This phenomenon is further exacerbated by the fact that they see and know people who proclaim to be believers who dwell happily with sin.
You see why it is important to be an example!
People are willing to be led to Christ if they can see people who live out the Christian experience. Someone needs to believe and also see others do. Someone needs an example so that when the heavy tasks of the faith fall upon their lives, they can find someone to help them work things out.
Examples empower. There is nothing more empowering than seeing that what you are battling with has been overcome. I recall when I was learning how to drive a car. I just could not get the dynamics right and I gave up. When I saw someone around me drive easily and he even started later than I did. I was energized to go and do take the lessons again. Voila!!! I made it. An example empowered me.