There are many examples in this world: some good, many bad but none are indifferent. We often see the fruit of living a life without godly character in celebrities who become corrupted by the money and lifestyle that comes from being in the spotlight. It’s unfortunate that these poor examples of how to live life are inescapable because they’re plastered all over the internet. There are, however, good examples of selfless serving people in this world, such as first responders, volunteers who help the needy, and people who seek the good of those around them. The ultimate example that our lives should conform to is of course to the example of the Lord Jesus. Compared to the example of the life of Jesus and his earthly ministry, all other good examples pale in comparison. Following Christ’s example is our first and true calling as Christians.
Paul in Romans 15 gives a clear and achievable example of how to imitate Jesus. Paul says: “Let each of us please his neighbor for his good, to build him up for Christ who did not please himself” (Romans 15:2-3b). Christ’s ultimate aim was to think of others before he thought of himself. This is most clearly seen by him voluntarily taking the cross on our behalf so that we might have life in God’s kingdom. This principle was lived out in his everyday life, as well. Christ’s goal was to seek the good of those around him, by serving them, ministering to them and ultimately being an example to them. Christ’s life was marked by building up the people around him. This example was often displayed to the outcasts, the poor and those who were suffering. Christ was always interested in supporting and loving those around him and he always thought of himself second. Not just the people in the upper parts of society, but anyone without exception.
Paul then continues his thought by saying “May the God of endurance and encouragement grant you to live in such harmony with one another, in accord with Christ Jesus, that together you may with one voice glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ” (Romans 15:5-6). Paul’s thought is this: when we seek to build up those around us we are moving towards a place of harmony. God’s desire is for us to live harmoniously with our brothers and sisters in the faith. When we seek the good of those around us and they do that for us in return, we will truly live in one accord in Christ Jesus, and with one voice glorify God!
Our job as God’s people is to follow the example of the Lord Jesus by seeking the good of others above our own desires. We, by following the example of the Lord Jesus, ourselves are being the example that the world and the next generation of believers need!
1. Seek the good of those around us, even above our own desires. When we all do this as God’s people we are moving towards harmony.
2. Be the example that our world and young believers need.
3. Realize that the harmony that is achieved by following the example of Jesus unites us in worship to our God.