Technically this study was for leaders, so it assumes that that is your goal. It wasn't too difficult to point out that we should all try to be leaders. We did a quick review of qualities people want in a leader. We talked about leaders in our lives, including parents. The big focus was on walking the walk, and how kids are more likely to do what their parents and teachers say if they're not saying, "Do as I say, not as I do."
A person may forget 90 percent of what a leader says, but he or she will never forget how the leader lives.
Of course we talked about the fact that parents aren't perfect and you shouldn't judge them based on one mistake, because the kids, especially Bear and Kitty are notorious for saying, "Well you yell," or "Dad cusses." I've yelled at the kids about 3-4 times in the 3 years they've been here! This is not an acceptable excuse for the kids' screaming violent meltdowns and I tell them so! Hubby does occasionally slip (mostly naughty words not real cuss words) when he's in traffic.
This is why Paul tells Timothy:We talked about hanging out with Christians can make it easier to behave with integrity, and act in a Christ-like manner. Hanging out with kids with issues can mean others assume you are like them and you might start acting like them.
Be diligent in these matters; give yourself wholly to them, so that everyone may see your progress. Watch your life and doctrine closely. Persevere in them, because if you do, you will save both yourself and your hearers.
1 Timothy 4:15-16
I mentioned something I'd read recently about an agnostic waitress who commented that she hated waiting on groups of Christians on Sunday afternoons after church, because they were horrible tippers and rude and demanding. We talked about whether we wanted to be the kind of Christians that people admired and wanted to be like.
In this life, we never attain perfection. But there should be progress toward the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. We will never attain it this side of eternity, but the there should be visible progress, evident to others. Notice the two things Paul exhorts Timothy to watch: your life and your doctrine. In other words, give careful attention to your behavior and your belief. Make sure they match. Constantly examine yourself to see whether or not your walk matches your talk.
In other words we're not going to be perfect, but when we said we were Christians - through baptism, joining the church, or just declaration, we committed to trying to be Christ-like and live with integrity. We should always be trying to be like him.
“How do I live when no one’s looking?” It’s easy to look like a person of integrity when people are watching, but do I live my private life with the same level of consistency as I live my public life? So much of our lives are consumed with what might be called “image maintenance.” We spend vast amounts of energy trying to get people to think about us the way we want to be thought about.
John Ortberg suggests, “Human conversation is largely an endless attempt to convince others that we are more assertive or clever or gentle or successful than they might think if we did not carefully educate them.”
I talked about my own focus on caring a lot about what people think of me. We talked about how much time we spend trying to get others to like us, think we're cool, or sweet or nice.
Jesus’ words in Matthew 6:1 are hard to get around: “Be careful not to do your acts of righteousness before men, to be seen by them. If you do, you will have no reward from your Father in heaven.”It’s possible to live one life publicly and another life privately. That’s not integrity; it’s an invitation for God’s discipline. We are to live with consistency in public and in private, because our Father “sees what is done in secret” (Matthew 6:4). Since this is the case, being faithful in small, secret things is a
God is far less concerned with your public persona than he is in your private character.
It’s in the small, secret places of self-evaluation that God’s grace changes you and shapes you into the image of his Son.
In the end, we become what our desires make us. Who we become reveals what we really desire. If you desire the praise of men, then you will become a certain kind of person. But if you desire the praise of God, then integrity will need to become a priority. As you sense the overwhelming holiness of our Creator, you will understand how unraveled you are. But as you focus on the grace of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, you will recognize that even though you may feel undone, you are not undone
because he has made you whole. His grace is sufficient, for his power is made perfect in your weakness (2 Corinthians 12:9).