False beliefs about your family

We shouldn’t be held up like we are an example

Starting point

“Love her as the Lord loves the Israelites” (God speaking to Hosea about his adulterous wife)

The book of Hosea is a story of a family who God chose to model out His love for His people. Their example and experience was used directly to teach others about God and His ways, and continues to have that function today. Let’s take this thought as a starting point to think about ourselves as examples to those around us.

Personal criticism

I remember being asked why one of my younger children could not behave as well as one of their older siblings who happened to be sitting quietly at the time. The answer I gave was quite simply that this child was younger. I felt slight indignation as the behaviour being displayed (along with a play-mate) was not bad, just full of childish energy appropriate to their age.

Many families in ministry feel pressure from people who make approaches and comments such as the one just outlined. None of us likes to be criticised especially if it is not constructive. As a response it can be easy to tell ourselves that we are just an ordinary family and we shouldn’t be treated any differently than any other. I wonder if the parents of the other child, acting in a similar manner and of the same age, were approached and questioned. I doubt it and this is why: It is my firmly held belief that leaders and their families are, and should be, looked to to set an example as Christians. In the example above my child was not behaving inappropriately and I was able to explain that (hopefully with respect) to the onlooker so that he was satisfied. As leaders we are to be careful of the outworking of our faith in every sphere.

Paul is a good example of a leader in whose footsteps we should tread.

A biblical example

Paul is a good example of a leader in whose footsteps we should tread and he says to those Christians in his charge in 1 Corinthians 11 v1 “Follow my example, as I follow the example of Christ.” Again in 1 Corinthians 4 v16 “Therefore I urge you to imitate me.” Then in Philippians 3 v17 “Join with others in following my example”.

“Well that’s all right for Paul to say as a leader,” you may be thinking, “but my husband is not Paul and that doesn’t include his wife and children anyway.” Lets follow the point further in some other scriptures.




Jesus himself taught that we all, as Christians, should, “let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven.” In this respect every Christian sets themselves up as an example, to be looked to, of how to model life whether inside or outside of the church. Let us face this truth and take it’s implications seriously.

Just a moment

If you are struggling with this truth at the moment please don’t despair. You may feel that I am laying in to you saying that you need to bear some pressures that are too big right now—I want help you into a new way of thinking and set you in the right direction to bring changes in your Christian walk, but I do want to build up the case some more first.



“Take note of those who live according to the pattern we gave you.” Philippians 3 v17b

Local leaders

More scriptures which tell us that we are to be examples to others are found in 1 Thessalonians 1 v6-7 “You became imitators of us and of the Lord...and so you became a model to all believers in [your local area].”

The church of Philippi was urged to, “take note of those who live according to the pattern we gave you.” Philippians 3 v17b

I think these scriptures point us to the realisation that we are to be fish in a fish bowl—looked at to point the way in putting in to practice the Christian way to live.

Did I say we think it’s not fair?

Pressure comes to bear

Some of the pressure which we feel comes from the fact that we think it is not fair. How can anyone constantly model the Christian way to live in their comings and goings, and family life, and be watched for every slip up? We all make mistakes and fingers will be wagged and tongues will be tutted when we fail. And did I say we think it’s not fair? Yes we will make mistakes, but part of being an example is that every Christian makes mistakes and we also need to model making amends and receiving forgiveness. We need to model the growing and learning process. And yes, that comes with enormous pressure.

This brings me to my next point. No one ever said leadership is easy. In 1 Timothy 3 v1-13 and Titus 1 v6-8 scripture sets out the characteristics of those who are to be considered for leadership. Take a look at these passages. Wow what a list. Do we really need to fulfil all those standards before we enter into leadership? The fact is, if we are trying to maintain a false front of respectability to appear good enough, those pressures will get to us. Those qualifications for leadership listed are to be proven precisely so that leadership is within the realistic capabilities of the leader and his family. Pressure can destroy a family but if this standard is normal before those pressures come to bear, the standard achieved by maturity in the faith, then the pressure is limited in it’s power.


Thinking about us

So what about you? Maybe you feel pressure. Maybe you look at those scriptures and realise you and your family don’t measure up. If the situation is that you are in leadership and you are feeling the pressure of not measuring up what should you do?

If this has become a real and urgent crisis for you and/or your family I would urge you to seek professional help. For the rest it would be good to work your way through the following exercises. If there is something specific that you would like to discuss with me, or pray through with me, then please contact me and I will do what I can for you.

Exercises to work through

How does this truth differ from what you have been believing?

In view of this truth what changes do you need to make in your life? (You may need to look at some scriptures and pray about where you should start.)

Is there anything specific you can do today to show that you are embracing this truth. What further steps do you need to take?

Write out a prayer with regards to this truth.

Is there a verse of scripture you think summarises this truth which you can learn?

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This article © Linda Faber 2006-2009.