What makes for a good example? Of course, it means doing things that are good, right, have integrity, and helpful. It means being intentional in the things you choose to do. It might also include things like attitude and listening to others. It might include things to avoid. Avoid run-ins with the law. Avoid promising things you have no intention of following through with. Avoid hanging out with people that will harm and not help.
When you think of someone being an “example”, the words of ex-NBA great, Charles Barkley, might come to mind. The NBA Hall-of-Famer made headlines in 1993 when recording a commercial in which he said, “I’m not a role model. Just because I dunk a basketball doesn’t mean I should raise your kids.”
The Apostle Paul wanted to encourage a church having trouble navigating the “deep weeds” of poor decisions says this, “Follow my example, as I follow the example of Christ.” 1 Corinthians 11:1. Now, this may be rather obvious but being a good example fundamentally requires you to be seen. Being a good example and mentor only works for others when they observe you. No one profits from your good example if they never see it. It requires “putting yourself out there.” God always desires our good decisions. But, our decisions are multiplied when others follow our lead. Follow my example, as I follow the example of Christ” is NOT a statement of arrogance. It’s a statement willing to help others grow in integrity and Christ-likeness. If you’re a Christ-follower consider being incredibly responsible about what you do and say, particularly today thanks to the inexorable force of social media. Being someone worth imitating not necessarily because of who you are, but because you are following Jesus.