By Cougan Collins



In order to really let our lights shine so that others might see Christ in us, we must set the right example. The example we must set as Christians should be distinct, making it apparent that we desire to be different and solely concerned about dedication to the cause of Christ. To understand the importance of the distinct example we are to be, it seems prudent to spend some time examining some Scriptures which bring to life the true importance of being the kind of the 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" wherein each Christian must determine for himself that he will be different, stronger, and better. Being a light in a world of darkness demands our serious attention. If we are not distinct in the example we set, we will simply blend in with a world of darkness and our opportunities to teach others will be greatly squandered. 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 is a time in which we allow our lights to grow dim and our influence for good to wane.


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. Elijah remarked, "I alone am left a prophet of the Lord" (1 Kgs. 18:22). Paul told Titus that Christians are a "special people" who, as a result of trying to be different from the world and distinct in their example, would stand out and be noticed (Tit. 2:14). The question that every Christian must answer is whether or not he is willing to be that example. It should be clear that the benefits of being Godly and following His 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 that God has commanded to punish us or to 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 continually rededicate ourselves to renewing our minds to be more Christ-like. Jesus said, if we love Him, we will keep His commandments (Jn. 14:15). Let us continually keep His commandments and be the kind of people who will prove our love to Him.


Shortly before the end of His life on earth, our Savior told His followers to not 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 one day see the Son of God and live with Him through eternity. We invite you to worship and study with us to learn more about first century Christianity lgchurchofchrist.com.


Adapted from Leland Ping