Set the Example

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You are the example. The question is “of what?”

I tweeted the above quote from our pastor a few weeks ago. It’s thought-provoking, isn’t it? You are the example…but, the example of what?


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There is always someone watching you – your kids, your neighbors, that guy in traffic who cut you off only to drive insanely slow, a stranger in Chick-Fil-A. Sure, they’re not all necessarily looking to follow your example, but they are noticing.

We’ve been studying the book of Timothy at church. Timothy is Paul’s instruction letter to Timothy on how the church is to be run. Because we who are followers of Christ make up the body of the Church, it stands to reason that Timothy also gives instruction on how we are conduct ourselves.

Don’t let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in life, in love, in faith and in purity. – 1 Timothy 4:12

Yes, Paul was talking to Timothy, but the words apply to all believers – we’re supposed to set an example. Our pastor correctly pointed out that we often let the world set the example.

“That person does this and he’s still a Christian, so I can do that.”

“Well, at least I’m not as bad as so-and-so.”

Christ didn’t call us to follow the world’s example. He called us to follow His example. We should be setting the bar, not playing limbo with society’s.

Whatever I do, Christ should be the model by which I measure my behavior. My blogging should be Christ-honoring, my parenting should be grace-based, my interactions with others should be mercy-filled.

As we begin school today, I want to keep these thoughts in my mind because my children are looking to me as an example. They’re looking to see how important my faith is to me in my daily life. They’re watching to see how I deal with frustration. They’re taking note of how I treat their dad, their siblings, and even strangers we meet.

I want to make sure that I set the bar by Jesus’ standards – not Hollywood’s, not my friends (though most of them would make pretty good role models), not society’s, as a whole, but Jesus, the author and finisher of my faith.

In everything set them an example by doing what is good. In your teaching show integrity, seriousness 8 and soundness of speech that cannot be condemned, so that those who oppose you may be ashamed because they have nothing bad to say about us. –Titus 2:7-8

You are the example. Make sure your model is worth replicating.

Kris Bales is a newly-retired homeschool mom and the quirky, Christ-following, painfully honest founder (and former owner) of Weird, Unsocialized Homeschoolers. She has a pretty serious addiction to sweet tea and Words with Friends. Kris and her husband of over 30 years are parents to three amazing homeschool grads. They share their home with three dogs, two cats, a ball python, a bearded dragon, and seven birds.

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  1. OH, Kris,I LOVE this post. Yes, Jesus should be our model….we should not hide Him, but love Him loudly and without fear…sharing how HE loved us so much…He set the example for our lives and it is beautiful! Thank you for this reminder!!!

  2. HI Kris,

    Wanted to thank you so much for this post. It really hit home for me. Actually, it brought tears to my eyes. I have been struggling lately with some friendships (people I thought were my friends really weren’t) and feeling a bit sorry for myself. This blog helped me to realize what is really important & the kind of “example” I want to set for my daughter. Thanks again & all the best. Liz

  3. Very true and such a timely reminder. It’s always interesting to listen in when my kids are engaged in pretend play – I listen to how the “mom” is portrayed, because I know she will be modeled after what they see in me. Sometimes, it’s not so pretty, and I have to seek God to help me be better example to them.

  4. I’m new here, but I thought I would let you know that I dropped by. And I really enjoyed this post. Thanks for writing it!

  5. Yeah, that’s the things with kids. You can lecture all you want, but they will model their behavior by what they see you do and how you handle what goes on around you.

  6. You’re so right…. I love your example quote. I may just write this BIG and keep it somewhere prominent so I can see it each day!

  7. That is such a good reminder. We need to be good examples for our children. I think sometimes in the heat of the moment we need to stop and pause and think about our reaction or our response BEFORE moving forward.


    1. If I could train myself to do that, I’d be golden…and it would be a whole lot easier to expect my kids to do it. *sigh*

  8. I had a man tell me a few weeks ago that my face was my business card (he was trying to sell me very expensive facial cleanser). I was thinking about that the next day on a car trip and it hit me that we are God’s business card. Everything that I do – the way that I dress myself before leaving the house, how I speak to my children, how I interact with people on a daily basis – it’s all showing someone something about God. Powerful blogpost.

  9. Love the quote at the top. So true.

    It’s popular to say, “I won’t indoctrinate my children.” But the people don’t seem to realize that you always indoctrinate them — even if it’s with the idea that “thinking for themselves” is the ultimate value — so you might as well consciously choose what to indoctrinate them with!

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