I spent this last week as an assistant counselor for younger girls at a Christian camp for the first time in my life. That was interesting. *Laughs* In all seriousness though, it was an educational experience. One of the things God brought to my attention was just how contagious we are. (Not like spreading germs, although I did come home with somebody else’s cold.) Especially when we’re around kids. They copy EVERYTHING. An illustration: Ever since taking a sign language class I’ve had the habit of signing (to the best of my ability) the lyrics of the songs we sing in church. So naturally when we sang in chapel at camp, I was signing. The first time it was just me, but pretty soon a couple girls from my cabin started watching me and trying to sign along with me. Then they started purposely picking the seats right next to me so they could watch me easier. And then I started to see girls in the rows in front of me discreetly copying me as well. After a day or two, suddenly there were boys on the other side of the center aisle trying to sign too. One of them even came over to the girls’ side so he could see me better. Several kids asked me what signs meant, or asked me what the sign for such-and-such was. I didn’t go to camp intending to teach people sign language. It just happened, because they saw my example.
We are an example to everyone we meet, whether we like it or not. We are constantly influencing the people around us, whether we know it or not. The question is, what are we an example of to those people? What kind of an influence are we? As Christians, we can’t ignore the fact that every day we are setting an example for other people to follow. We are Christ’s ambassadors on deployment, and our responsibility is to represent Christ well to the watching world. That’s not a responsibility to take lightly! Every single thing we do can influence someone. Every single arrogant attitude, every sharp response, every grudge…every smile, every loving act, every humble apology, every word. Every single choice we make is vastly important, because it speaks volumes about what we believe is right or wrong. Every movie we watch, every song we listen to or sing, every game we play, every book we read. People will notice the things we fill our life with.
As Christians, we can’t take our lifestyles lightly. We can’t do things that the world does because they’re ‘okay’. ‘Okay’ is not the same as ‘best’, and furthermore, doing what the world does is not setting an example. It’s following the world’s example. Sometimes we need to give up the ‘okay’ things in favor of God’s very best. Since my adventure in Texas this June (yes, I mean at STEP), I’ve been challenged to consider if the things I do and the choices I make are really God’s best for me. Because if they’re not, I need to give them up. I encourage you to do the same. What kind of an example are you? What habits or hobbies or activities or speech choices glorify God, and which ones should you change? You are a role model to bunches of people every day. Please, please take it seriously!