Heard a “wild and crazy” professional athlete declare it in no uncertain terms: “I am NOT a role model for anyone!” I’m glad he told us… I agree with him! He didn’t want the responsibility! His goal in life was to make a lot of money, get a lot of attention and acclaim, and live irresponsibly! Who cares about what the impact is on other people’s lives!
I have to say that I don’t hold people like that in high regard. I care very much about their lives and I’ll be praying that they hear the gospel and come to faith in Christ. But if I were the parent of a small child or young person, I’d be warning them about the outcome of a life like that, I’d be pointing out times when their irresponsible behavior reaped painful results, and I’d be identifying healthy (and godly) role models for them to follow.
Yeah, I know what some may say… “Com’on Bartel, nobody’s perfect! Give ‘em a little slack!”
Apostle Paul himself admitted that…
He said, “Not that I have already obtained this [knowing Christ fully or achieving complete righteousness] or am already perfect…”
But he hastened on to say, “But I press on to make it my own, because Christ Jesus has made me his own… But one thing I do; forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus [heaven!].” In other words, He wasn’t satisfied with where he was but deeply desired and sought God’s very best for his life!
And he was willing, as a mature adult, to accept the responsibility of being “a role model!” Here it is in his own words… “Join in imitating me! And keep your eyes on those who walk according to the example you have in us!”
And his warning? “For many, of whom I have often told you and now tell you even with tears, walk as enemies of the cross of Christ! Their end is destruction, their god is their belly [i.e. their appetites], and they glory in what they should be ashamed of, with minds set on earthly things!” (All of this from Philippians 3:12-21)
Ok, here’s the deal… With God’s help and grace, I want to be a role model – and a good one! I’m willing to accept the responsibility! I’m not perfect, but God is at work in my life, empowering and transforming me through the Holy Spirit so that I’ll look more and more like Jesus! … Jesus! That’s who I’m following! He’s my role model par excellence!