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If you’re just joining us, we’re taking a closer look at 1 Timothy 4:12, so grab a cup of coffee and pull up a chair…

“Life”.  That’s rather vague, don’t you think?  It kind of encompasses, well, pretty much everything.  “How’s life?”  “What do you want to do with your life?”  “I risked life and limb to bring you this milkshake!”  (Mmmm…milkshake 🙂 )

Taken at it’s surface, Paul’s directive to set an example for others in “life” can either seem like a premature summary of his point or, it can be a bit daunting.  So, for the sake of our poor brains, I’d like to narrow it down a bit.  Rather than looking at our lives as a complete, yet general, entity, I think we’ll talk about setting an example in life like this:

We can set an example for others in our approach to life.

We all have times when things just are not working the way we want them to.  And when we are in those “valleys”, it’s natural to complain and whine and feel sorry for ourselves.  In fact, it’s what the World expects.  How do I know that?  Just watch the news.  All of the broadcast.  Often, tacked on at the end is a story about someone who is in a dire situation and somehow rises above it.  If that weren’t the norm, it wouldn’t make the news.

That’s a little picture of what setting an example in life is all about.  Christians go through just as many hard seasons as everyone else (and some may argue more).  Mature, example-setting Christians rise above those difficulties.  How?  Simple – they live a life of consistency. 

Before the hard times come, example-setters are spending quality time with God and His Word.  They’re asking God to stretch them and grow their faith.  They’re seeking His face, His will and His leading.

When the hard times come, example-setters spend quality time with God and His Word.  They thank Him for giving them the opportunity to grow and to increase their faith.  They seek His face, His will and His leading.

In other words, example-setters approach life the same way, whether it’s good or bad.  Regardless of their circumstances, God is their source of life.  Sure, they may ramp up their time with Him and may cling to Him a little harder when life turns in a disappointing direction.  But because their relationship with Him and faith in Him is constant, they don’t have far to reach for His hand.

And because of that consistency in life, the valleys seem less dark and cold.  Because of that consistency, their lives don’t fall completely apart whenever a trial comes along.  In the face of tragedy, the example-setter can rest, confident that God is for them and confident that whatever comes along, He knew about it ahead of time, He’s got it under control and He has a plan.

What’s your natural, first reaction when life turns dark?  Who lives consistently as an example for you?