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Examples to Follow

From the moment we are born, we require community to learn how to live in society. We start completely dependent on our parents or carers to guide us and show us how to live. As we grow older, we become less dependent on others, but growth still happens best in community. Early in life, we don’t have a choice in who we learn from or who the examples are that we follow. Later, that choice becomes ours.


The Bible makes clear that we need good examples to follow as we seek to love and obey Jesus. Humans who are full of the Holy Spirit reflect aspects of Jesus to us and show us in practice what we read in the Bible. In Philippians 3:4-17, Paul provides a model for what it looks like to follow Jesus, emphasizing the importance of having examples to follow.

In today’s world, we are very aware of how people have been misled or abused by those they trusted and followed. Understandably this makes us cautious about whom we follow. However, the scriptures are adamant that we benefit from communities where people learn from each other and speak into each other’s lives. So, how do we know if someone is worthy of imitating and following?


Here are some guidelines based on Paul's example in Philippians:

1. Commitment to Jesus: Follow those who are committed to loving and obeying Jesus. They should reflect Christ in their actions, read the Bible, pray, and be active in their church community.


2. Respectful Attitude: They should treat you as a fellow servant of God, recognizing that you belong to God alone. They should not exhibit a sense of ownership over you but speak honestly and respectfully… as an equal.


3. Humility: Avoid those who flaunt their credentials. True leaders guide by example and do not rely on statistics, titles or hierarchy to claim superiority.


4. Understanding of Suffering: Beware of those who promise a pain-free Christian life. True Christian growth involves suffering, which is part of God’s plan to prosper and grow us.


5. Joy in the Resurrection: They should be marked with joy and live in the power of Jesus' resurrection, showing that they trust in God’s goodness and His plan.


6. Kingdom Focus: They should live for God’s Kingdom, investing their energy, money, and time into what matters to God rather than worldly comforts.


1.  Reflect on who you can learn from and follow as you seek to grow in your love and obedience to Jesus.

2.  Consider if you are setting an example worthy of being imitated.


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