Originally published Thursday, 18 January 2018.
As women, sometimes we struggle with housekeeping don't we, especially when we have a growing family. Recognizing that there's a place for neatness we try to keep everything neat all the time and this is where our unrealistic expectations begin to get the best of us. Maybe secretly we do believe that neatness is next to godliness.
We want our living rooms to be works of arts instead of actually being lived in; we want our kitchens and our bedrooms to be Pinterest worthy and there should be no toys or clothing on any of the floors. The only place that might be allowed to be messy is the laundry room - and even there we drive ourselves crazy: we should have bins for each person and each color; washed laundry should be folded into neat stacks so that family members can easily spot their clothes. In other words, even the laundry area must be neat! Who can stay sane? We set unrealistic examples for those around us while perhaps driving them and ourselves crazy.
As I began to let go of perfection, I discovered that if I was a good model it was easier for everyone to mimic my actions. For years I thought everyone should fix their beds before leaving the house - I put in a lot of words and spent a significant amount of time pontificating to make this a reality but yet everyone fell short of this objective. One day I decided to demonstrate how important this was to me. So without any fanfare, I started making my bed in the morning. Soon, I noticed that my husband was doing the same thing without one bit of input from me. No nagging, no hurt feelings, no drained energy. It was important to me initially, so I did it. Clearly, it also mattered to others. My actions did more than all my words ever did and my actions allowed me to be a good example.
An exemplar is a person or thing serving as a typical example or excellent model. During his short life, Jesus modeled examples of things that were important. He not only spoke about them, he did them. And because he did them we have a great Exemplar in Him. Jesus showed us how to pray and how to be humble. He wowed the crowds with his wisdom and empathized with the downtrodden. He made his followers think by speaking in parables. He listened to those who had gone unheard. He performed miracles by feeding thousands and healing those who were sick for long periods of time. He got angry but didn't stay angry and most of all He loved well.
As an exemplar, Jesus was typical yet atypical for He was also diety - the Son of God. But while here on earth, He was very God and very man; an excellent man. This gives us hope in that we can strive to be like Him in every aspect of life - from the mundane to the extraordinary.
God's word provides the best Exemplar in the form of Jesus. Scripture was given for our edification, knowledge, and actions. In it, we are told to be like Him. Jesus was the epitome of perfection but we will never be. Instead, with His strength let's model his actions so that they make a difference to those around us. Just like fixing the bed had a domino effect in my household, may our actions have the same impact on those around us. May they want to imitate the Christ in us.
As for me, I will behold thy face in righteousness: I shall be satisfied, when I awake, with thy likeness.
Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children; and walk in love, just as Christ also loved you and gave Himself up for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God as a fragrant aroma. Ephesians 5:1,2
Are you a good exemplar?