When it comes to sports — we do it. In business — we do it. In almost every field of endeavor we look for role models. We try to find others who have been successful, and then we imitate them. God’s word tells us to do the same thing in spiritual matters.
The best role models are found right there in the Scriptures. Jesus is the ultimate example: “For even hereunto were ye called: because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that ye should follow his steps” (I Peter 2:21).
Other great heroes of faith serve as good role models, too. Paul urged us to be: “followers of me, even as I also am of Christ” (1 Corinthians 11:1). In another place he wrote: “Brethren, be followers together of me, and mark them which walk so as ye have us for an ensample” (Philippians 3:17). Hebrews chapter eleven is full of examples of faithful men and women who serve as worthy patterns for us to imitate.
Some might complain that it is hard to fully relate to someone that we can only read about in a book. “Paul was a great Christian”, they would say, “but we live in a different world. It’s hard to imagine how Paul would deal with our situation.” For these folks, let us suggest that they can also look to their own brethren. In any church there are faithful, zealous, devoted Christians who are working hard to live for the Lord. They resist temptation, spread the word, encourage others and generally work tirelessly to do His will. Look to them. Imitate them.
We know this method works. In all sorts of endeavors we look for “winners” and we copy them. Let’s do the same thing when it comes to our most important endeavor — serving God!
How to Know What God Wants Me To Do
We all face important decisions. These decisions will often have a great impact on us and our families. It may be a question about what job to take, or where to live, or what school to attend, etc. What should we do? Does God offer any help or guidance in making such decisions? We believe the answer is YES! How does God give this guidance? In many ways:
1) Through the Word. The vast majority of answers are here. There are positive commands that tell us what we should do. For example, Matthew 28:19 instructs us to teach the gospel to others. You don’t have to wonder if God wants you to speak to your neighbor about salvation. He does, and He said so! There are also negative commands that tell us what to avoid. If, for instance, you are praying about whether or not you should honestly report your income taxes — save your breath! God has already given that answer (Eph. 4:25). Don’t be looking for additional guidance in areas where God has already said “no” or “yes.”
2) Through prayer. Christians are to be consistent in prayer (1 Thess. 5:17). God promises to answer our prayers. We ought to approach Him with petitions for help with our important decisions (1 Peter 3:12). If you don’t believe this will work, then don’t bother to ask! (James 1:5-7).
3) Through circumstances. In the Old Testament, Joseph suffered a number of awful and unjust things. In the end, he was wise enough to realize that God had used those circumstances to accomplish His will (Gen. 45:7,8). Be careful here – this ‘guidance through circumstances’ is sometimes hard to detect, and some are quick to jump to false conclusions.
4) Through the counsel of others. The many commands that urge us to exhort and encourage our fellow Christians (Heb. 3:13, Gal. 6:2) demonstrate that God intends for us to help one another with the difficult things in our lives.
Articles by Greg Gwin
The Auburn Beacon