"So we cared for you. Because we loved you so much, we were delighted to share with you not only the gospel of God but our lives as well."
No one would doubt Paul’s ability to teach the Word. Some have suggested he was probably one of the best teachers of the New Testament era. His goal was not to dispense information but revelation knowledge that would change the lives of those who heard him.
Paul did not just preach the gospel, he gave his very life as a demonstration of the Word in action. His life was an open book. Because of his willingness to be open before the church at Thessalonica, he modeled the very message he was preaching.
A common failure among Christians today is to say one thing and do the opposite. If we desire to be true mentors to young believers, we must give them examples to follow. Sadly, we find in the modern church more talking and less demonstrating the truth of the gospel. Gaining Bible knowledge is useless until it becomes a living Word that produces change.
In his second letter to the Thessalonians Paul wrote, “For you yourselves know how you ought to follow our example. We were not idle when we were with you” (2 Thessalonians 3:7). When he encourages the believers to “ follow our example,” he isn’t referring to a casual approach to discipleship; rather, the implication is an intentional study of the life, deeds, actions, and thoughts of another person. It is an attempt to fully understand that person and then to replicate the person’s attributes in our own lives.
There is a common misconception that if we give our very lives to those who are following us they will somehow lose respect. Nothing is further from the truth. Paul did not feel he would lose their respect, on the contrary he wanted them to observe him so closely they would be able to duplicate his life themselves.
There’s nothing wrong with getting close to those you teach. Opening up will allow them to see our action matches our message. Talk is cheap. What people need is an example to follow!
Father, I want to be a good example to those around me. Help me demonstrate the truth of my message. Amen!