Perhaps more than anyone else, I believe it is incumbent upon disciples of Jesus to lead by example. Christ told us to be His witnesses throughout the earth (Acts 1:8). In other words, wherever we go, we are the representatives of Jesus and His Kingdom. No pressure there, right? But in truth there should be no pressure. If our lives are fully devoted to Christ, it will be natural to walk in His footsteps.
The problem is the majority of Christians I’ve observed have not taken their commitment to Christ seriously. They said the prayer and have moved on. That’s not going to get it done, and it dishonors the name and character of God to live in such a manner.
To be certain, none of us are ever going to get this absolutely right. We’re not going to be perfect representatives of Jesus. If you don’t believe me, come hang out with me for a few hours. You’ll see a man deeply committed to following Jesus who consistently messes up. The goal is not perfection, but rather pursuit of Christ. As long as we are following hard after Him, pushing through every failure and refusing to stay knocked down, we’re going to be just fine.
Step one in beginning to lead by example is to take our commitment to Christ seriously. You pledged to surrender your life to God. Start living like you meant it. Again, you’re not going to accomplish this immediately. Study His Word. Spend intentional and scheduled time talking to God each day. Put into practice the things you are learning. Not only will this draw you into an ever deepening relationship with Christ, it enables you to begin modelling the behaviors of a disciple to others. Before you even realize it, you will have begun to lead by example.
The next step is to move beyond personal disciplines and begin to lead by example in the world around you. This is going to take courage. Ask God for it; He has a ready and inexhaustible supply. This is where we begin to speak for those with no voice, to stand in the gap for the marginalized. If disciples of Jesus stand idle on the sidelines of injustice, who then will speak for truth? We are to be the light of the world (Matthew 5:14-16), a hope in the darkness. We are to take the love and message of Jesus to those in discouragement and despair.
Jesus is the only cure for the sickness in this world. Our job is to be consumed by Him so our every word and action will be honoring and accurately representative of Him. This world is desperately looking for something to which to cling. We must lead by example. We must walk in the light of Christ and reflect His love to everyone. We must speak only uplifting words, encouraging the oppressed and downtrodden (Ephesians 4:29). Jesus spent His entire life leading by example. He showed us the way. Now it’s our turn. Don’t miss your moment. Surrender your life anew, then go and lead by example.