How to follow the example of Jesus
While on earth, Jesus modelled, and through His example showed us how we ought to live and behave. This incorporates our behaviour and attitude toward others – how we treat others; and the words we speak (controlling our tongue).
“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, long-suffering, gentleness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control…”
Galatians 5:22-23 (New International Version)
The 180 turnaround
As Christ-following believers, we have been welcomed into God’s family – and invited to live in a whole new way. Which, in many instances, requires a 180 degree turnaround from worldly beliefs and former sinful habits!
God in all His grace and mercy not only gives us new life – He empowers and equips us to live in a way that reflects who He is. His Word is living and active (Hebrews 4:12) – it works in our lives and helps us to follow His example and principles in all we say and do. This includes practices such as self-control; as well as the careful, loving use of our gifts to bless others. Isn’t it wonderful that we have all been gifted to touch other lives in the Body of Christ?
How we treat others
The Bible unapologetically encourages us to consider (really think about) how we can spur one another on to love and to do good deeds (Hebrews 10:24). That usually presents a challenge… But please consider the following questions: How do you treat others? How do you show love and kindness toward others? Is there someone who needs your help?
Scripture also reminds us that if we pursue our old self-serving way of life, it will lead to a mindset of death (destruction, failure, emptiness); whereas when we intentionally pursue living for God as empowered by His Spirit, our minds and thinking will be refreshed, and full of life and peace (Romans 8:6). That’s quite a contrast. Which life do you pursue – living a Spirit-filled life that blesses others or a self-serving life for your own advancement?
The words we speak
Another critical step on our Christian journey is the words we choose to speak (controlling our tongues). In (James 3:2) we read how we all stumble in this area of faith. As followers of Christ Jesus we should always be speaking words filled with life, love and encouragement to and about those around us. Sadly this is often not the case, but thankfully overcoming our natural desires to speak negative when times get tough or when people offend us, we can journey with the Holy Spirit to help us. “For every kind of beasts, and of birds, and of serpents, and of things in the sea, is tamed, and hath been tamed of mankind: But the tongue can no man tame; it is an unruly evil, full of deadly poison” (James 3:7-8).
We are to have an abundance of heart and a full storehouse of generosity to out pour. We need to pray in the Spirit, be lead by the Spirit and not refuse the Holy Spirit as He helps us take control of our tongue.
How do we tame our tongues?
God graciously invites us to live an abundant life, and to fill our hearts with good treasures concerning who He is, who we are in Him, and what we can do because of Him (Luke 6:45). The consequence of pursuing Him in this way is that the words we speak will firstly honour God and secondly release life. Another wonderful revelation here is that we will experience no problem in controlling our tongues if we learn to control our thinking by renewing our minds with God’s Word. What are the words you speak to and over others?
Words have life but words could also declare death – let’s constantly be alert to how we shape our own lives with the words that roll off our tongues! “Death and life are in the power of the tongue: and they that love it shall eat the fruit thereof” (Proverbs 18:21). There are no short cuts, no excuses, no one else who can help us follow Jesus’ example and modelling His behavior and attitude toward others. It is a choice each of us need to make. Are you ready to follow Jesus’ example of treating others with respect and love and speaking words of life, love, encouragement, hope and grace into all circumstances? “…Put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make not provision for the flesh, to fulfill the lusts thereof” (Romans 13:14).
Remember, we are born of the incorruptible seed of the Word of God and we must allow it to fill and mature us until we look like The Word who became flesh and dwelt among us. Let us feed on, imagine and set our minds on the Word of God. Let us be quick to forgive others and use our tongues for life and love. Let us always remember that God is our protector and helper; He is for us and He is with us and He is in us. It’s really up to us to walk this journey of becoming more Christ-like in all the areas of our lives! “But you, man of God, flee from all this, and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, endurance and gentleness” (1 Timothy 6:11).
“Man cannot harm us and we need not to fear what man can do because we have put on the image of Christ and are therefor new creations in and through Him”.