Now is the time to ask yourself some questions. Have you come to a point in your life where you are an example to others? Have you advanced and grown spiritually since you received Jesus as your Savior? Have you followed in the footsteps of Jesus?
You may not feel like you have any attributes Jesus Himself would want to follow. But what about other Christians around you? Do others look at your life and say, “I would like to be a Christian like him?” If they were praying for a natural example to respect and follow, would the Lord impress them to follow you?
And what about your own family? Have you been an example to your mate and children? Could your sons and daughters be known as “pleasers” of the Lord?
It may be surprising to you, but the answer to all of these questions can be “yes.”
Step 1: Gain an understanding of grace.
If there is any one message that runs throughout the Word of God, it is that our Father is a God of grace. Simply put, grace is God’s gift. Your salvation and all of its blessings is a benevolent gift of God. Grace on your part cannot be worked for, earned or deserved. Knowing this can help you grow.
To become this person, you have to understand God’s heart. David did. David understood that God was gracious and merciful long before the coming of Jesus. His psalms were filled with the grace and mercy of God. They tell us of the Lord’s mercy that endures forever. (Psalm 136) Just as Jesus told us to “be merciful, even as your Father is merciful,” and as Paul told us to “grow in grace,” so do David’s psalms in the Old Testament.
In the New Testament, the Pauline epistles not only contain teaching on grace, they usually begin with grace salutations and end with grace benedictions. How do you think your life would be changed if each day that you sought to grow in grace began and ended with thanksgivings of grace?
Step 2: Do not take yourself too seriously.
God always takes nobodies and makes somebodies of them. If He finds a somebody, He has to first take the time to make them a nobody before He can properly use them. Moses, the prime minister of Egypt, had to spend forty years in the wilderness tending sheep before God could send him back to Egypt as Israel’s deliverer. Powerful Saul of Tarsus had to spend many years in seclusion before he reemerged as the apostle Paul. Both of these great leaders were renowned among their followers as very meek people.
A meek person doesn’t take himself too seriously. That doesn’t mean the meek don’t take the Lord and their mission in life seriously. The meek are able to put things into perspective. They know God’s mission was here before He called them and that it will be here long after they are gone. They also understand the task is important, but God could get anyone to do it.
Think about it. Someone handed the torch to you, and others will carry it when you are gone. The Zibas of life always think of themselves “more highly than they ought.” But David always knew the battle and victory belonged to the Lord. You will take another step up when you realize this too.
Step 3: Maintain communion with God.
Daily communion produces strength. Just as David understood the importance of time with the Lord, you must recognize this too.
Communion includes first of all, time in God’s Word. Through his “exceeding great and precious promises” you can partake of God’s divine nature and escape the corruption of the world. (2 Peter 1:4)
Secondly, communion demands a daily prayer life. Needs and fellowship are the central purposes of prayer. “A” king of kings realizes his utter dependence on “The” King of kings and lets his “requests be made known unto God.”
Finally, communion includes praise and worship. Thanksgiving and adoration are the result of a lifestyle of intimacy with God. Every Old and New Testament hero offered outpourings of praise to God. Why then would God require any less of you?
Step 4: Use successful people as examples.
People who succeed in life follow the trail that other successful leaders have left behind. The Word of God, and history itself, are filled with people you can pattern yourself after. Bible study books should be supplemented with a good library of biographies and books on history. The history of our nation and the church are equally filled with men and women who displayed integrity and moral courage in the face of evil tyranny. There is no trouble awaiting you that hasn’t been dealt with and conquered by others before. Let the triumphs of those in the past give you victory today.
Step 5: Stop using those who fail as an excuse to compromise.
On the other hand, there are trails blazed by failures that other failures can follow to excuse a compromising life. History is full of both winners and losers. You can always excuse your spiritual condition by finding someone who is not living up to God’s standards. Your highest example should be the Lord Jesus. (Ephesians 5:1, 2)
David had many opportunities to compromise. He was surrounded by arrogant brothers and a compromising father. When Samuel was sent by God to anoint a king over Israel, David’s father, Jesse, lined up all his sons before the prophet. He began with the tallest and most handsome of his sons, Eliab. From there, the remaining sons were brought out, but David was excluded. Why? Because, like his sons, Jesse was embarrassed of David. He had left him in the fields! Then when God had rejected every one of David’s brothers and Samuel asked Jesse if he had any others, humiliated, Jesse had to admit, There remains yet the youngest, and there he is, keeping the sheep. (1 Samuel 16:11) You see, in the natural, David seemed the most unlikely candidate to be chosen that day. But God reminded Samuel that He looks on the inside of man’s heart instead of his outward appearance. This should give you great assurance too.
David had no one in the shepherd’s fields to use as an excuse. He had the Word and the presence of God. His examples were always high spiritual achievers—the Lord and the patriarchs. So whatever you set your eyes on, like David, you can also attain. Set them high.
Step 6: The past is past.
God does not call perfect people to sit on the thrones of life. He calls people like you and me. There has only been one Jesus Christ, and you are not Him. So don’t be held back by your past sins. And equally as important, don’t try to live up to your past successes. Both can stop God’s plan for your life today. You didn’t create your past successes. God’s grace and Holy Spirit created them, and you will only start to succeed again by fully trusting in God. Your past sins are your fault, but the same grace and Holy Spirit Who forgave you before, will forgive and restore you again. Ask God for His forgiveness and cleansing power to remove them, and experience His faithfulness today. (1 John 1:9) God’s plan is still intact and He is still watching over you to accomplish it.
You are still alive, God is still on the throne, His Word is still “alive and powerful,” and the Holy Spirit still lives in you. Your past setbacks and failures are over and God wants to redeem the time. Stop and think about David. Although he had many sins, he discovered the principle that Paul, another king of kings, wrote about in the New Testament ...forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. (Philippians 3:13, 14) A throne is in your future.