Mark asked us two very pointed questions this morning:

* What type of role models do we make?

* Who is our role model?

We’ve all had people we’ve looked up to as we grow up; Mark confessed to having ‘the Fonz’ as his childhood hero (who wouldn’t want to be so cool and popular, not to mention also having a motorbike?!)

A role model can be admired for all kinds of (sometimes dubious) reasons, including their fashion styles, make-up, clothes, wealth and possessions. But we all imitate something and it’s important for us to learn to imitate God (Eph 5:1-2) and to be good role models for those around us, especially our children, young people and new Christians.

Proverbs 4:1 urges us to ‘listen to a father’s instructions.’ Parents are role models, whether they like it or not, training children (see Proverbs 22:6). Paul urges Timothy to ‘set an example for the believers in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith and in purity’ (1 Tim 4:12). That’s the kind of example we should all be setting: thinking about what we say (and how we say it), what we do, showing love and faith and purity in everything we do (see also Neh 5:9). The list of qualities that a role model should have is even longer in Titus 2:1-8, including self-control, temperance, integrity, soundness of speech, faith, love and endurance.

Jesus is our ultimate role model. If we are to be imitators of God, as dearly loved children, we have to look at Jesus and follow His example. He came to serve (see John 13:14-17) – we are blessed if we do what He did, He explained, which means learning to serve each other in practical, demonstrable ways (a lesson John clearly learned as he taught in 1 John 3:16-17). Whether we like it or not, our lives are daily being observed by others. We are ‘living letters’, known and read by everyone (see 2 Cor 3:2-3). Let’s be the kind of role model that will draw others to Jesus and inspire them to follow Him.

Michael Card’s ‘The Poem Of Your Life’
captures the ideas in 2 Corinthians 3 so well. Our lives are being shaped by God daily. So often we feel insignificant and as though no one sees, but God is shaping us and moulding us into His image:

“Life is a song we must sing with our days

A poem with meaning more than words can say

A painting with colours no rainbow can tell

A lyric that rhymes either heaven or hell.”