“Set an example for the believers in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith and in purity.” –1 Timothy 4:12b
My mother-in-law gave up walking their terrier Jack because he pulled at the leash and barked at cars. Instead Jack was put out in the backyard to run around and bark at the geese on the pond. We don’t have a fenced-in backyard, so we have to take Lexi on walks. Also, Lexi is fifty-five pounds. Behavior that is non-threatening (and even adorable) in a little dog—like ferocious barking, jumping, and lunging—is frightening in a bigger dog. So we can’t just ignore or put up with Lexi’s undesirable behaviors. We have to set a high standard for her. God has set a high standard for us. Others won’t ignore or put up with cheating, lying, selfishness, injustice, bigotry, or hypocrisy in followers of Christ. If we’re to be effective messengers of the gospel, then we have to walk with God. Of course Lexi doesn’t always live up to our standards, but we forgive her and keep trying. We don’t always live up to God’s standards, either. But he forgives us—and we keep trying.
Dear God, Help me try every day to live up to your high standards. Amen