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Set an Example; Display His Beauty

Posted Sep 21 2009 10:23pm

Totally Translplanted with Shonda Savage Whitworth

People love to admire plants. I know I do, and I am totally amazed when I can get something to grow. A friend and her husband gave me an Esperanza plant they started from a pod. It was just a sprout when I received it, and I put it in a little pot. My husband and I then transferred it into a larger pot so the roots would have room to grow. We watched and waited for it to burst forth with its pretty yellow flowers; we waited and watched, and waited and watched. Finally, Eldon decided it was time to plant it in the ground. It must have loved us for the move; it started growing even more and now has bright yellow blossoms. It is displaying its beauty.

Esperanza Plant 004

As believers in Christ, people (believers and non-believers) watch us. They want to observe how we grow in the Lord just like a plant grows in the soil. Are we going to make it? Will we actually bloom? Will they see our fruit? Living a Totally Transplanted life requires us to stay planted in fertile soil and receive the living water of Christ for nourishment. We are examples to other Christians, as well as, non-believers.

Once we decide to follow Christ, we must set a good example because we are being watched to see how we will grow. In order to grow properly, we must follow the will of God which is not always an easy choice. The Old Testament book of Hosea has a wonderful example of someone who made the difficult choice to follow God's will.

The LORD said to me, "Go, show your love to your wife again, though she is loved by another and is an adulteress. Love her as the LORD loves the Israelites, though they turn to other gods and love the sacred raisin cakes." (Hosea 3:1, NIV)

Imagine the your spouse is living with another person, and you're told to go take him back! No way! I'd want to kill him. In Old Testament times, a husband had the legal right to kill an adulterous wife and her lover. "If a man commits adultery with another man's wife—with the wife of his neighbor—both the adulterer and the adulteress must be put to death" (Leviticus 20:10, NIV).

Therefore, Hosea had to choose—follow the law of Moses (which he had every right to choose) or to follow the voice of God. The name Hosea means "salvation." His role as a prophet was to act out the part of God, who is our salvation in Christ. Gomer, his unfaithful wife, portrayed the Israelites who committed spiritual adultery against the Lord.

When God said, "Go, show your love to your wife again," Hosea obeyed. The Scriptures do not record any possible time lapse, but all indications are he went without hesitation. Hosea portrayed God's love for His people as he went and took back his adulterous wife. This act of love must have spoken volumes to the people of his day and it still speaks to us today as it's been recorded in God's Word for us to learn.

Can we be that kind of example for others to see? Can we walk in obedience to the Lord? Yes, we can and it requires a close relationship with God. In order to know how to be godly examples for others, we must have knowledge of God's Word. We gain that knowledge from attending church services, Bible studies and reading the Scriptures at home. We must meditate on His word day and night. Then when the trials come, put into practice what we learned. We must also behave in ways that will speak volumes.

Antique clock

Recently my loving husband brought a situation to my attention. With my personality type, I'm not the kind that arrives at places early or even on time. I have a tendency to be late for functions, especially for Sunday morning Bible class. Being fed up with waiting for me and making him late, Eldon told me that I must be on time. He pointed out to me that if I wanted others to arrive on time to my Tuesday ladies Bible studies, then I must set an example and be on time at other church functions. Oh, what a valid point! I'm making adjustments to be more punctual.

Jesus is our best example. In John 13, Jesus washed the feet of his disciples at His last Passover meal with them.

When he had finished washing their feet, he put on his clothes and returned to his place. "Do you understand what I have done for you?" he asked them. "You call me 'Teacher' and 'Lord,' and rightly so, for that is what I am. Now that I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also should wash one another's feet. I have set you an example that you should do as I have done for you. I tell you the truth, no servant is greater than his master, nor is a messenger greater than the one who sent him. Now that you know these things, you will be blessed if you do them. (John 13:12-17, NIV)

Jesus set an example for us. We're to follow Him and set an example for others, like Paul stated, "Follow my example, as I follow the example of Christ" (1 Corinthians 11:1, NIV).

Just as we watch the plants grow, others are watching us. Remember we are "like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither. Whatever he does prospers" (Psalm 1:3, NIV). Even in difficult choices, living Totally Transplanted lives means we're godly examples for others to see our evergreen leaves and prosperous fruit in season which are a reflection of the beauty of Christ. They're watching to see if we will display His beauty. 

Shonda Savage Whitworth

© 2009 Shonda Savage Whitworth
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