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Role Models for LifeJuly 25, 2022
A peasant walks past a tombstone that says: Here lies a lawyer, an honest man, a man of integrity. The peasant looks to heaven and says, “Dear God, imagine that, three men buried in the same grave!”
Of course, we could replace lawyer with any number of other professions. The point is, it matters how we live our lives! This is by no means a deep insight into Christianity, but in our secular world, where anything goes, it is good to remind ourselves that as Christians we are called to live lives of integrity.
In Hebrews 13:1–6 we find one of the many lists of ethical commands found in the Bible. Though it was written almost 2000 years ago, its challenging words could have been written just as easily today. The first admonition, “Let mutual love continue,” is a powerful starting point for any ethical list. This should always be the starting point for those in the church of Jesus Christ. Without love of God, neighbor, and ourselves we can’t be the church.
The list also includes commands to 1) show hospitality to strangers, 2) remember those who are in prison, as if we were in prison, 3) let marriage be held in honor by all, and 4) keep your lives free from the love of money. But like so many of the ethical lists and Commandments, it is hard to follow God’s commandments.
Hebrews 13:7 offers important insight at this point: “Remember your leaders, those who spoke the word of God to you. Consider the outcome of their way of life, and imitate their faith.” This text calls us to choose models, people whose lives exemplify faith, and imitate those lives. Who are your models of faith, the leaders you have chosen to help you live a life of faithful integrity?
One of the great blessings of life is when our parents are positive role models in our lives. Even if we don’t want to be anything like our parents, or repeat their mistakes of the past, we can find traits that are worthy of modeling. It is important that we carefully look at our parents, co-workers, neighbors, teachers, leaders, and friends, and find the models to guide us as we live our lives.
A close friend of mine came to a point in his life when his life was a mess. He had been spoiled all his life, he was self-centered, had a poor self-image, was undependable, was a mediocre father, and a bad husband, and he knew it! He made a conscious decision to seek guidance from those men he knew whom he respected, and who seemed to be successful, not only in business, but in their personal lives. In each case, the men he chose for models for a new life were also Christian, which gave them a strong spiritual foundation. My friend sought out a relationship with Jesus Christ and let Christ be the most important model for his life. Through faith and prayer Christ guided him in many new directions that have brought joy and happiness to his life. Today there are countless people in his life that look to him as an important role model in their life. He never set out to be a role model for others, but became one as he modeled those lives of integrity that he had studied.
Who are the role models you have chosen to model your life upon? If you can’t think of any then take a good look at your life. Chances are you compromise on living a life of integrity. A life of integrity doesn’t just happen; it is a chosen lifestyle. Maybe you need a new role model as the questions and challenges of life and faith have changed as you have gotten older and face new life situations. Who do you know that has already faced similar challenges throughout their life that you can learn from? Is there someone you know whose faith is at the center of all their life decisions? I am always watching how people solve common problems through their faith carefully choosing new models to teach me life’s lessons. What about you? Who are the people who have had the greatest impact on the person you are today?
Have you decided to live a life of integrity? It does matter how we live our lives. Also, we might unknowingly become a model for someone else’s life. I think the most important thing to do is ground our lives in our Christian faith. For in Christ we will find the strength and courage to love God, love neighbors, and love ourselves. (To find out more about Al Earley or read previous articles, see www.lagrangepres.org).