I have really never been one who envied, idolized, or looked up to another as a role model or as a person to pattern my life after. I have always been a bit more down to earth and have seen people as people and as human, prone to the same mistakes and indiscretions as I. I feel it to be somewhat risky; or, in many cases, foolish to pattern your life after another fallible human; and, as many have done, excuse their stupid acts simply because you idolize them or think them superior. Needless to say, I am probably in the minority, but I believe I feel this way because I did not want to always be excusing the actions of my heroes to my peers; and, most importantly, to myself. I do not believe God has excused any of us, myself included, from obeying His laws and precepts. When we idolize or make someone seem superior, we are making them something they are not. As they say, the best people are only people at best, and you are only inviting disappointment when you expect something you cannot control. God is the only one worthy of our praise, and He is the only one who can never fail. Society today patterns itself, not after those things that are righteous and holy, but after those things that are corrupt and self-serving. As a Christian, how can you justify such behavior or conduct? Somehow, I feel that many choose to let others determine their conduct or behavior in an attempt to skirt accountability, or to excuse their inappropriate actions. When your idol or champion does something you know to be wrong, do you criticize? Do you see them humble themselves and take accountability for their misdeeds? Or do you justify what they do and then consider it ok to do the same? The statement, “He did it,” or, “It wasn’t my fault,” seems to often be too convenient and accessible. They say power corrupts. Could it be that those who are given the power or authority to make society’s behavioral decisions are corrupted or proud? If my accountability was left up to those in authority, and only them, then maybe I would concede, but that is not the case. The idea that this is a man’s world and that man is in total control is not logical or justifiable. Did man create man, or did man do anything to bring this world into being? This is not a topic relevant to opinion or personal belief. To discuss a topic in an attempt to hide its deception is never productive and, in many cases, can be completely destructive. Arrogance is not a friend of the humble, and to receive God’s forgiveness, we must be in a contrite spirit.
God looks at each of us as unique individuals, and we will all be expected to answer for our decisions, good or bad. It will not be the gang leader or movie celebrity who will plead your case; you will be required to answer for yourself. At a time when the truth could be most important, would you really want to be held accountable for what someone else has to say? I say at a time when the truth could be most important, because if the truth will insure your place in heaven, don’t you want to make sure it is being spoken? The idea of just go with the flow or that society determines what is right or acceptable is not justifiable or sustainable. “‘Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate,’ saith the Lord, ‘and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you, And will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters,’ saith the Lord Almighty” (2 Corinthians 6:17-18). As children of God, we are admonished not to be a part of the evil things of this world. That does not give us a right to become critical and condemning, but as God leads us, we are to set an example that will draw sinners to our Savior. As it has often been said, God hates the sin, but He loves and has died for the sinner. Who is the sinner? “For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23). It is not our place to judge; the only true judge is God, our heavenly Father. But God has given us the power of reason. God has given us the convicting power of the Holy Ghost and an intellect that can sense and reason what is right or profitable. We have not been given the right or responsibility to judge, but we are admonished to be selective and wise.
I do not think it wrong or foolish to consider some individuals more knowledgeable or capable than others, but I do not believe it wise to consider them as gods. Not choosing to pattern my life after people I have known, I found it sometimes difficult deciding just what I should do or how I should respond. I have met many delightful people who lived their lives in dedication to their Lord, but even though many of them were my good friends and I loved them dearly, I did not feel I was being led to live like them. Some of them have undoubtedly had a positive influence upon me, but I never considered any of them as my hero. Asking the question, “What would Jesus do,” can sometimes be of help, but if I am not sure what He would do, then where am I to go? I know that He is to be my only example; and, as I walk, I must be in step with Him. That is why I must spend my time in getting to know Him by reading His Word and praying. He will reveal Himself to me as I faithfully seek His will. Speaking of His commandments, the Bible states, “My son, let not them depart from thine eyes: keep sound wisdom and discretion: So shall they be life unto thy soul, and grace to thy neck. Then shalt thou walk in thy way safely, and thy foot shall not stumble” (Proverbs 3:21-23). The one person who influenced my life the most was my mother, and just from knowing her, I can say I am a better person today. Some say that as you travel on in life, you are prone to compare the women you meet to your mother. In my case, I would consider this an unfair balance because I really never met any like Mom. I do not believe it is fair to compare people to measure their credibility because God looks at us as individuals, not as groups. Mom was special, and it saddens me so many people cannot say that about their mothers. She was always there for her family. Her heart was for her God and then for her children, but it really didn’t stop there. Mom gave to everyone she met; she was the prime example for her Lord. “Living epistles read of men,” as the Bible says it; she was found faithful to the very end. As I think about the people I have known and I think about how I should pattern my own life, I am drawn more closely to the examples given us by our Lord. For even hereunto were ye called: because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that ye should follow his steps: Who did no sin, neither was guile found in his mouth: Who, when he was reviled, reviled not again; when he suffered, he threatened not; but committed himself to him that judgeth righteously: Who his own self bare our sins in his own body on the tree, that we, being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness: by whose stripes ye were healed. 1 Peter 2:21-24. “For I have given you an example, that ye should do as I have done to you. Verily, verily, I say unto you, ‘The servant is not greater than his lord; neither he that is sent greater than he that sent him.’ If ye know these things, happy are ye if ye do them” (John 13:15-17). I do not feel I could ever measure up to the example given us by our Lord, but I feel like He is the only one who should gain my devotion and trust. Without Him, I would be dying and headed for a devil’s hell. Without Him, I would have no reason to love or care about my life or the people all around me. He is the reason I care; He is the reason I endure; and He is the reason I live. Since I met Him, to pattern my life after someone else would seem inadequate and foolish. I never had the pleasure of meeting any of those saints, those I would call super Christians, although I have heard them often talked about. I can’t imagine being known as someone who was so close to God that I could touch the hem of His garment. In my mind, there could be no more desirable place to live. I have often prayed that God would draw me closer, but I have never been willing to do my part to see it accomplished. I have lived my past not thinking of a future, and now, when I would do more, I am disappointed at what has been wasted. I knew that it took desire and commitment to be thought of as a super Christian, but I could never quite understand how anyone ever got to that point. As the Bible tells us, all have sinned (Romans 3:23). I really didn’t understand how someone who was a sinner could be considered different or special. As I got older, I began to understand that all to God are special, and that our determination to live for Him was the only thing that could make us different or unique.
Everyone has a past, and to be totally fair and completely objective, you cannot condemn a person for the mistakes or indiscretions they have made. God has told us in His Word that if we confess our sins, that is our past, then He is willing and faithful to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. He also has promised that He will, with His forgiveness, forget those sins He has forgiven and will not hold them to our account any longer. Forgiven, forgotten! As far as the east is from the west, so far hath he removed our transgressions from us (Psalm 103,12). Man, in his desire to gain power and control, will dig up a person’s past and hold it against them or use it to get some desired response. I do not believe you can totally overlook a person’s past when they continually do those things that are unseemly, but I do believe that sins under the blood are to be forgotten.
The enemy is always looking for something to confuse the issue or to draw attention away from what is important. Distraction has undoubtedly sent more people to hell than the lack of interest because he, the devil, will use distraction to draw their minds away from their concentration upon God. Every individual has started at the exact same point: lost and condemned. Being lost has no true worth or merit; and, until you find yourself kneeling at the foot of an old rugged cross, you have really gained nothing that is precious and fulfilling. Circumstances will undoubtedly influence actions, but every individual is responsible for his or her choices. All men have sinned, and all men will be accountable for their sins. For this reason, I choose to place my attention upon the only one who can show me what is honest and profitable, what is righteous and holy. He is the only one who can lead me, and He is the only one who will not fail me. As I live, I will never be in doubt or question His ability or actions. Jesus was the only perfect sacrifice, and He is the only one who can give me those things that are perfect, righteous, and profitable.