Why must our young people be godly examples? One reason for this is to show siblings and students under us that we must not act foolishly. They look up to us and they follow what we do because they want to act “cool.’ As we age, we must grow in wisdom and truth, putting away things of this earth and thus living sanctified lives.
We must show others that we live a godly lifestyle. People might ask, what does that mean?’ We reply by telling them that in every little thing that they do, from playing tag, to eating lunch, to talking with their friends, they must glorify the name of God. Our only response in this life is thankfulness to God for sending his only begotten Son to die for us.
As Christians, both young and old, we must live according to Matthew 5:16: “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.” We let our lights shine by doing deeds of kindness, doing daily devotions, or by helping a fellow believer. It would be a joy for us to be like the Christians of old, who were kind even throughout persecution.
Our works can never accomplish salvation. Out of thankfulness, by what we do and say, people should know that we are different from others. Why act this way? We do so in order that as witnesses we might gain others to the faith, and that we might glorify our God in heaven. Christ in his sufferings gave to us the Holy Spirit, making it impossible for us not to do good works and be good examples to those around us.
We have this light that we spoke of earlier, as true believers, given to us by God through the pouring out of the Holy Spirit. Lords Day 24, question 64 asks, “But doth not this doctrine make men careless and profane? The answer is, ‘By no means; for it is impossible that those who are implanted into Christ by a true faith should not bring forth fruits of thankfulness.”
Young people, do not go dormant! We are to flourish in good works. This is proof our faith is growing and that we are different. That is our calling as representatives of the true church of God. We must set a standard for ourselves. We should not try to look good in the eyes of our peers by doing something sinful in order to look good. That’s the work of a hypocrite.
We may ask, “How can I as a Christian perform this calling?” It is impossible of ourselves to do so. We are fallen and born in sin. It is only through the work of the Holy Spirit whom our Savior has given us that we can do any good at all!
First, we can set standards for ourselves, which proceed out of God-given abilities. Don’t fall into sin out of peer-pressure when people around us are trying to persuade us to sin. Know that Christ has sanctified us, and we must glorify him in all that we do. Others will see our faith and see us shining as lights of God. We pray that God will use our examples to work in them to become faithful members of the church. Young people, we should not be lackadaisical. We must have determination to do what is right in the sight of God, for he is gracious.
Second, look hard at what doing wrong leads to. If you go around doing bad things, what do you think the next generation of the church will do? They will follow in our footsteps. If we are only godly when we are at church, our light will never shine. We must remain examples in all that we do, never thinking in certain circumstances that now we can sin and do whatever we want.
Third, we must build each other up and show others what is right and what is wrong. That doesn’t mean go and scream at someone who has stumbled off the straight and narrow path. Rather, we go to them and in love speak to them. We show them how we must separate ourselves from the world. James 1:27 says, “Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this: to visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and to keep oneself unspotted from the world.” We are to show the kindness of Christ to the world around us, but we should not go into the world and become best friends with them, because we are called to be unspotted.
Fourth, we must be godly examples not just sometimes, but at all times. As students, we must show our faith, and prosper, for without it we are no better than the unbelievers. What good is a Christian education if we renounce it the second we leave school? We must cherish our Christian education, for by following it we may be godly examples. Thankfully we study church history from a Christian point of view. We are to use this point of view with world around us, seeing things through a Christian perspective and living as examples of what is right.
Last, we must let the love of Christ show through us. In Greek there are three words for love: agape, philia, and eros. Agape is love without expecting anything in return. Philia is love between siblings. Eros is love between husband and wife. The love we must show to all around us is agape love. Christians should be the ones helping the sick and comforting the dying even through times of persecution and plague. People in the age of the early church were in awe of this love, and they wanted to be a part of it. God used these Christian witnesses to cause others to join the church. We are called to let Christ’s love for us shine through to others. As we go forward as godly examples, we look to God for the strength to do so. Scripture tells us that even our best works are as “filthy rags.” Thus we don’t take the credit for living godly, but give all glory to God. Our purpose on the earth is to live a thankful life and glorify our Father in heaven. The Holy Spirit works in us and through us, making our light shine. For this we are thankful, and in thankfulness we live as godly examples, that our great God in heaven may be glorified.