In order to let our lights shine so that others might see Christ in us, we must set the right example. The example we set as Christians should be distinct, making it apparent that we desire to be different and are concerned about being dedicated to the cause of Christ. To understand the importance of being a good example, we need to examine some Scriptures that bring to life the importance of being the kind of people who others will see as followers of Christ.
The Apostle Paul wrote that we are to “present our bodies a living sacrifice” and that we are not to “be conformed to this world, but transformed by the renewing of our mind” (Rom. 12:1-2). Being renewed in spirit is more than just saying, “God is good” or “I love God.” Being renewed in spirit involves a great “transformation” in which each Christian must determine that they will be different, stronger, and better. Being a light in a world of darkness demands our attention. If we are not distinct in the example we set, we will blend in with the world of darkness, and our opportunities to teach others will be greatly wasted. In Paul’s letter to the Ephesians, the apostle said that we are to cease our “former conduct” and “be renewed in the spirit” (Eph. 4:22-23). Anytime we return to our former conduct, we allow our lights to grow dim and our influence for good to diminish.
Sometimes, being a distinct example will cause the Christian to feel alone and feel like he is the only one left who desires to please God. At one point, Elijah felt this way and said, “I alone am left a prophet of the Lord” (1 Kgs. 18:22). Paul told Titus that Christians are “special people” who will stand out and be noticed because of their distinct example (Tit. 2:14). The question that every Christian must answer is whether or not they are willing to be that example. It should be clear that the benefits of being righteous and following God’s plan are indeed great and worth any persecution or sense of loneliness we might experience.
Finally, Christians should be reminded that setting a distinct example is not something God has commanded to punish us or make our lives miserable. By being obedient to God, our lives on this earth are more meaningful and enjoyable. Paul told the Corinthians to “imitate me, just as I also imitate Christ” (I Cor. 11:1).
Indeed, we must continue to rededicate ourselves to renew our minds to be more Christ-like. Jesus said, if we love Him, we will keep His commandments (Jn. 14:15). So, let us continue to keep His commandments and be the kind of people who try their best to be a shining light for this dark world.
Shortly before the end of His life on earth, our Savior told His followers not to be troubled. Instead, we are to be confident that He is going to “prepare a place” for us (Jn.14:1, 3). In order for us to be with our Savior in eternity, we must imitate Him and make Him our first priority. If we renew our minds and dedicate ourselves to being distinct examples for the cause of Christ, we will see the Son of God and live with Him through eternity.