Brethren, join in following my example, and observe those who walk according to the pattern you have in us. Phil.3:17
Setting an example is not the main means of influencing others,it is the only means. -Albert Einstein
Continuing with the series starting with #1-3 here, and #4-6 here I offer four more areas we are trying to model before those we disciple/mentor.
7. Don't belittle. People are already bashed enough by the world. They don't need it from us as well. Belittling is what we say about people in front of others, showing our own superiority over the person being belittled. There is a difference between belittling and correcting someone. Correction is what we do privately when something needs attention. Belittling comes in many disguises: fault-finding, making fun of, putting down, nagging, ignoring, correcting out loud another's point-of-view, opinions, ideas, or attempts to do something; talking condescendingly about others faults and weaknesses; blaming; making others feel stupid, ignorant, insignificant, irrelevant, or inferior; pointing out weaknesses of others behavior, work, ideas or attitudes. Scripture tells us Satan is the "accuser of the brethren" (Rev.12:10.) We ought not be out there helping him do what he already does so effectively. If we can't say something edifying, encouraging, uplifting, or positive, best not say anything at all.
8. Be a good listener. One of the greatest gifts we can give to people is listen to them. People have a deep need to share their stories, fears, concerns, experiences, observations, victories, etc. The problem is very few have someone willing to take the time to really listen. A disciple is someone who is constantly reminded by the two ears and one mouth on their head, that God designed up to listen twice as much as we speak.
9. Learn to live with 80% of our income. If we can't make ends meet with 80% of what we are bringing in, we need to find ways to reduce our spending. Adjustments need to be made to our life style. While I don't believe the NT teaches tithing for Jesus followers, I do believe setting aside at least 10% of our income for Kingdom related needs is a bare minimum. I also believe we should set aside another 10% for savings so that we don't go into debt, or need to borrow from others when extra needs arise. One of the great sins of CCC (Contemporary Consumer Christianity) is living beyond our means. By doing so, and seeing this as the "norm," we end up not having anything significant to give for Kingdom causes. If Jesus commands, "seek first the Kingdom of God," shouldn't that be reflected as well in our finances? Some would say, EVERYTHING belongs to Jesus. Quite true. But how many of us actually live that way? Until we mature enough in our walk with the Lord to live out the truth that all we have belongs to the Lord, I teach/model living with 80%. Begin with 10% for the Kingdom, and 10% for savings. As your faith and walk in the Lord increases, expand to living with 75%, 70%, 65% etc.
10. Live in Romans 8. There are so many mind-blowing truths in this chapter. If we could simply learn to live our lives in the context of this single chapter of the Bible, and believe what it says, literally 100% of our fears, worries, concerns, doubts, burdens, would weigh no more on us than a feather! For starters, here is a short-list of the "benefits package" that is ours in Christ Jesus:
- no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus...
- you have not received a spirit of slavery leading to fear again
- you have received a spirit of adoption as sons by which we cry out, "Abba! Father!"
- we are children of God
- and if children, heirs also, heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ
- the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory that is to be revealed to us
- waiting eagerly for our adoption as sons, the redemption of our body
- in hope we have been saved
- the Spirit Himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words
- He [the Holy Spirit] intercedes for the saints according to the will of God
- God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose
- those whom He foreknew, He also predestined to become conformed to the image of His Son
- these whom He predestined, He also called; and these whom He called, He also justified; and these whom He justified, He also glorified
- Christ Jesus...who is at the right hand of God, who also intercedes for us.
- if God is for us, who is against us?
- Who will bring a charge against God's elect?
- God is the one who justifies
- how will He not also with Him freely give us all things?
- Who will bring a charge against God's elect?
- Who will separate us from the love of Christ? Will tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?
- but in all these things we overwhelmingly conquer through Him who loved us
- neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, will be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.