“Righteous Father, though the world does not know You, I know you, and they know that You have sent Me. I have made You known to them and will continue to make You known in order that the love You have for Me may be in them and that I Myself may be in them.” John 17:25-26
We know them. Sister ABC and Brother XYZ. No one can utter a negative word about them; no one can refute their pristine reputations. They give to those in need; their good deeds are legendary in your church. They know the Bible frontwards and backwards and can easily tell others the book, chapter and verse of all scripture. You admire them and want to model your life after them. They are the personification of Christianity.
While Sister ABC and Brother XYZ may deserve admiration and their actions may be a sincere product of their faith, Christians should never look only to man for an example of how to lead their lives. We have been given the ultimate example in our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. As John 1:1 explains, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” In this verse, the Word is Jesus Himself. Therefore, for instruction on how to conduct ourselves, we need to dedicate time to consistent and conscientious Bible study rather than looking for others to lead the way. This responsibility rests upon each of our shoulders. Through study, we develop a better understanding of Jesus, His mission and His precepts thus strengthening our relationship with Him. Sunday sermons should not be the only time the Word enters our lives. Faith and belief should be personal, not based upon someone else’s interpretation and understanding. If during your independent study you come across scripture you cannot comprehend, pray for guidance and understanding. Don’t conclude that you are not smart enough, Christian enough or worthy.
At one time, Sister ABC and Brother XYZ may have been just like you. They may have witnessed the light of a Christian elder that shone so brightly it made them want to have the same spiritual maturity, joy and peace. Although that elder was the impetus, he or she was not the root. The root is Jesus Christ. Take the initiative to know Him for yourself.