Brethren, join in following my example, and observe those who walk according to the pattern you have in us.
Yesterday was the first day of dog school for our puppy. Within a very short time, it became apparent to me that self-dignity wasn’t something my fellow dog owners or I could hold onto too tightly. I saw old ladies on their knees, young couples talking in high-pitched voices, and everybody running around like chickens with their heads cut off. The reason behind this, claims our instructor, is that you can’t teach your puppy anything without first doing it yourself.
As foolish as it made me appear, there is an undeniable truth behind this statement. Knowing this, I am somewhat amazed after reading Philippians 3:17. The Apostle Paul has come to a point where he can instruct others to live godly by “following my example.” Imagine living a life so disciplined, that when others ask you how to live godly, you could simply reply, “Do what I do.” Wow!
When you stop to think about it, friendships generally take on this dynamic anyway. That’s how “clicks” and groups of friends develop. One person observes another acting in a certain way and they become friends. Before long, everyone in the group is acting in the same manner, talking with the same language, and reacting identically to various situations.
If I wanted to learn how to play the guitar, a great place to start would be to ask my brother if he could teach me. While I am confident that he could show all the correct techniques, the greatest help may simply come from watching him. It would not be his knowledge or instruction that inspired me to play the guitar each day, but rather his own dedication and passion to do the same. In affect, he could simply say, “If you want to learn the guitar, follow in my example.”
I wonder, however, if we’re to the point where we could do this with a friend who wanted to know what it means to be a Christian. You shouldn’t have to be an Apostle to say, “Join in following my example.” If your truly striving to please Jesus, if you are living your life to glorify the Lord, there should be no problem in making a statement such as this.
I encourage you to evaluate your lifestyle and ask the Lord what type of witness you are to those around you. Make it a point to live today as if a friend were watching your every move to see how a Christian acts, talks, and reacts to various situations. The truth is, just as my dog has been learning from me since the first day I got him, your friends have also been watching and learning from you for quite some time.