Thursday, January 26, 2012

A Model to Follow

Today is the day of the Church Year in which we remember St. Titus, Pastor and Confessor. (Today is January 26.) A prayer offered today states: "Lord Jesus, help us to witness to You by our words and in our lives. Amen." (Portals of Prayer, Jan. 26, 2012) I was sitting here thinking about that simple little prayer. The more I thought about it the more I realized it might simple in words but it is terribly difficult to put into practice - which may well be the way of many aspects of our lives of faith. It is easy to proclaim, difficult to do. Why? We are sinners. (This doesn't justify our living out a sinful life but it does help us to understand our difficulty.) We are sinners which means that we are going to struggle with following the way of the Lord in our lives.

"Help us to witness to You by out words and in our lives." Do you really mean that? I mean, deep down inside, where you live at in your heart of hearts - do you really mean that you want to live as a witness to Christ? The easy answer is "yes." Then do it. Like Titus, be a model for others to follow. Let your light so shine before men that they will see your good works and praise your Father in heaven.

The question that I had to ask myself (and the the one that you should be asking yourself) is this, "Do I really want someone to model their life after the way I talk and act?" Now, before you jump on me and say that we are to model our lives after Christ alone and not after some sinful person, let me say this. I agree wholeheartedly with that. Our lives are to follow after Christ. As Luther said, we are to be little Christs in the world. When people look at us, they should Christ, not us.

Having said that, people look at those around them for guidance on how to act. Children look to their parents and other caregivers for guidance on how to act. Students look to their teachers for someone to model their life after. Parishioners look to their pastor to have someone to model their life after. Young adults look to their parents for models of how to live. People look to sports stars for a model of life. So while we are to model Christ for others to see, people are looking to you as a model on how to live their life.

So do you want people to use you as a model? Titus was encouraged by Paul to be a model for others to look to  on how to live. Read the letter of Paul to this young pastor named Titus. You will find that in your Bible. Just look for the book called "Titus." Gives some great advice on how to go about being a model for others.

You are a Christian. Therefore you are a model. You are a witness. You are the one that someone is looking at right now for guidance on how to live their life. Are you a model to follow? Is your life a model of Christian living? Or is it a model of hypocrisy? I am not talking about the hypocrisy that is the person who is honestly trying to live their Christian life but continue to struggle with temptation and sin. That is all of us. I am talking about the hypocrisy that is found in the person who says that marriage should be kept pure between a man and a woman and then has an affair, looks at pornography or lusts after the person in the office next to them. The hypocrisy that says to the son, "Don't look at pornography," and then watches the movie that has nudity and sexual activity as the base of the activity. The hypocrisy that says that a person is supposed to support and speak well of the fellow person and then spends time talking about and sharing things about that very person to others (known as gossip!). Are you living a "do as I say not as I do" life? Is that the type of model you want others to follow?

I am not going to offer the 6 Steps to Changing Your Life here today. I was just thinking about this as I prayed that little prayer this morning. Lord Jesus, help us to witness to You by our words and in our lives. And I changed it to say, "Lord Jesus, help ME to witness to You by MY words and in MY life. Amen. Help me to be one that is a model for others to follow - a model of faith, a little Christ for someone else to see. And as they see me today, may they be drawn closer to You. Amen."

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