Scripture: Philippians 3:15-21 (NIV)

All of us, then, who are mature should take such a view of things. And if on some point you think differently, that too God will make clear to you. Only let us live up to what we have already attained. Join together in following my example, brothers and sisters, and just as you have us as a model, keep your eyes on those who live as we do. For, as I have often told you before and now tell you again even with tears, many live as enemies of the cross of Christ. Their destiny is destruction, their god is their stomach, and their glory is in their shame. Their mind is set on earthly things. But our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ, who, by the power that enables him to bring everything under his control, will transform our lowly bodies so that they will be like his glorious body.

Paul talks today about being an example, how he tried to show those new in the faith how to live and what God working through a person would be like. We all have examples of the faith in our lives, people that we admire, that we strive to imitate. The idea of being an example is the basis of the quote attributed (if perhaps falsely) to St. Francis of Assisi, “Preach the gospel at all times. Use words if necessary.”

However, examples can go both ways. (I have a friend of mine who likes to jokingly say, “I’m not good for nothing, I can always be a bad example.”) Ben Solo, even though he had two legends of the Rebellion for parents and the sole remaining Jedi for an uncle, instead took his example from his grandfather, Anakin Skywalker. And not the Skywalker after his redemption or before his fall, but while he was a vessel for the Dark Side, while he was Darth Vader.

Why did this happen? It’s something that I’m sure will be explored in either future movies or books, but you wonder if it is possible Han and Leia did more showing than telling. While that can be an effective way of going at things, sometimes you have to explain why you are doing the right thing. You have to explain what those beliefs are. You have to tell them why their grandfather’s life was terrible for a long time but he was saved in the end.

I’m completely guilty of this, expecting that my actions will fulfill my Christian duty. We talked earlier about sharing our stories and talking to people about Christ. There are times and places for that, I believe (and I mean that in the way it will be received, not that we should ever be ashamed to talking about Christ), but we can’t always assume that people know we are “nice people” because we are Christian.

Paul set an example, truly. His life was completely dedicated to Christ and it is amazing what he was able to do. However, without his preaching and without his writing, would his testimony have been as effective? If there comes a chance to talk about Christ, let us have the strength to grab it!

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