WISDOM FOR LIVING DAILY DEVOTIONAL
JULY 4TH, 2021
TOPIC: DON’T FOLLOW BAD EXAMPLES
BY T. O. BANSO
“So practice and obey whatever they say to you, but don’t follow their example. For they don’t practice what they teach” (Matthew 23:3 New Living Translation)
It is often said that example is better than precept. Examples, good or bad, are very powerful. While one should be careful not to be a bad example to others, one should also be careful not to follow bad examples, as examples are infectious.
In 2 Chronicles, the Bible shows how King Jehoram of Judah did what was evil in the sight of LORD; he followed a bad example. 2 Chronicles 21:5-7 says, “Jehoram was thirty-two years old when he became king, and he reigned in Jerusalem eight years. But Jehoram followed the example of the kings of Israel and was as wicked as King Ahab, for he had married one of Ahab’s daughters. So Jehoram did what was evil in the LORD’s sight. But the LORD was not willing to destroy David’s dynasty, for he had made a covenant with David and promised that his descendants would continue to rule forever” (New Living Translation).
King Jehoram followed the example of the kings of Israel because of wrong marriage although he was a king of Judah. The daughter of Ahab, Athaliah, was his wife (verse 6). His mother was Jezebel, the most wicked woman in Israel.
The Bible says of Ahab: “But there was no one like Ahab who sold himself to do wickedness in the sight of the LORD, because Jezebel his wife stirred him up. And he behaved very abominably in following idols, according to all that the Amorites had done, whom the LORD had cast out before the children of Israel” (1 Kings 21:25-26 New King James Version).
Jehoram followed a bad example. He did what was evil in the sight of the LORD. 2 Chronicles 21:4 says when Jehoram had become solidly established as king, he killed his six brothers and some of the other leaders of Israel. For leading the people of Jerusalem and Judah to worship idols, just as King Ahab did in Israel, and for killing his brothers, who were better than him, Jehoram didn’t escape God’s judgment.
The prophet Elijah wrote to him, saying, “You have not followed the good example of your father, Jehoshaphat, or your grandfather King Asa of Judah. Instead, you have been as evil as the kings of Israel. You have led the people of Jerusalem and Judah to worship idols, just as King Ahab did in Israel. And you have even killed your own brothers, men who were better than you. So now the LORD is about to strike you, your people, your children, your wives, and all that is yours with a heavy blow. You yourself will be stricken with a severe intestinal disease until it causes your bowels to come out” (2 Chronicles 21:12-15 (New Living Translation).
Consequently, the LORD stirred up the Philistines and the Arabs, who lived near the Ethiopians, to attack Jehoram. They carried away everything of value in the palace plus his sons and wives. Only his youngest son, Ahaziah, was spared.
Also, Jehoram was afflicted with a severe or incurable intestinal disease that got worse each day for two years. Finally, his bowels came out and he died of severe pain (verses 14, 18). His people did not hold a great funeral fire to honour him as they had done for his ancestors (verse 19). In addition, nobody was sorry for him when he died and he wasn’t buried in the royal cemetery (verse 20).
Don’t follow bad examples. In Matthew 23, Jesus spoke to the multitudes and His disciples about the scribes and the Pharisees who sat in Moses’ seat – the official interpreters of the Scriptures. Jesus told the multitude to do whatever they told them to observe but they should not do according to their works because they did not do what they said. “So practice and obey whatever they say to you, but don’t follow their example. For they don’t practice what they teach” (Matthew 23:3 New Living Translation)
Jesus said the scribes and the Pharisees bound heavy burdens, hard to bear, and laid them on men’s shoulders but they would not move them with one of their fingers. He said all the works they did was so that men would see it. Jesus pointed out all other acts of exhibitionism they engaged in and warned His listeners not to follow their example. They were bad examples. They were hypocrites for not doing what they taught.
Don’t follow bad examples. If you follow a bad example, you may become worse than the person. Be careful; follow a good example. Hebrews 13:7 says, “Remember those who rule over you, who have spoken the word of God to you, whose faith follow, considering the outcome of their conduct” (New King James Version). Follow their faith means emulate their faith. “Do not forget your Leaders, the men who told you God’s Message. Recall the close of their lives, and imitate their faith” (Twentieth Century New Testament). Follow or imitate those who through faith and patience inherit the promises (Hebrews 6:12).
The apostle John says, “Beloved, do not imitate what is evil, but what is good. He who does good is of God, but he who does evil has not seen God” (3 John 11 New King James Version). Who are you imitating? What example are you copying? As a minister, student, wife, husband, or whatever you are, know that there are examples around you but follow only good examples.
The apostle Paul says, “Brethren, join in following my example, and note those who so walk, as you have us for a pattern. For many walk, of whom I have told you often, and now tell you even weeping, that they are the enemies of the cross of Christ: whose end is destruction, whose god is their belly, and whose glory is in their shame — who set their mind on earthly things” (Philippians 3:17-20 New King James Version). Emulate godly examples. Don’t follow the enemies of the cross so that you won’t also suffer with them in the end.
Make sure that the examples you’re following are also following Christ. Christ is our perfect example. Don’t follow whoever is not following Christ. Paul said, “So take me for your example, even as I take Christ for mine” (1 Corinthians 11:1 Bible in Basic English). The New King James Version says, “Imitate me, just as I also imitate Christ.”
Earlier in 1 Corinthians 4:16, Paul had urged the Corinthian church to imitate him. If someone is not following Christ, don’t follow him. If he stops following Christ, stop following him. Follow only those who follow Christ. Don’t follow just a human being; follow the Lord first.
Don’t make a sinner your example or role model because he is a celebrity or rich. The end of every sinner is hellfire whether he is a celebrity or rich. Your boss, trainer, teacher, or anyone you’re under may be a sinner. Learn only the skills or acquire the knowledge you’re expected to get from him but don’t emulate his sinful lifestyle. Don’t follow bad examples. “Therefore be imitators of God as dear children” (Ephesians 5:1 New King James Version).
In 1 Thessalonians 1:6a, Paul said the Thessalonians became “followers of us and of the Lord.” (New King James Version). Who are you following? What are you learning from them? Paul said, “The things which you learned and received and heard and saw in me, these do, and the God of peace will be with” (Philippians 4:9 New King James Version). What are you learning, receiving, and learning? Is it consistent with the Bible? Will it ultimately save your soul?
Look at this good example that Paul set for the church: “For you know that you ought to follow our example. We were never lazy when we were with you. We never accepted food from anyone without paying for it. We worked hard day and night so that we would not be a burden to any of you. It wasn’t that we didn’t have the right to ask you to feed us, but we wanted to give you an example to follow” (2 Thessalonians 3:7-9 New Living Translation). Don’t follow anyone’s bad example of an unChristian lifestyle. Let your life comply with the Bible.
Don’t follow bad examples and don’t be a bad example.
If you are not born again, you need to give your life to Jesus now. I urge you to take the following steps: *Admit you are a sinner and you cannot save yourself and repent of your sins. *Confess Jesus as your Lord and Saviour. *Renounce your past way of life – your relationship with the devil and his works. *Invite Jesus into your life. *As a mark of seriousness to mature in the faith, start attending a Bible-believing and Bible-teaching church. There they will teach you how to grow in the Kingdom of God.
Kindly say this prayer now: O Lord God, I come unto you today. I know I am a sinner and I cannot save myself. I believe that Jesus is the Son of God who died on the cross to save me and resurrected the third day. I repent of my sins and confess Jesus as my Lord and Saviour. I surrender my life to Jesus now and invite Him into my heart. By this prayer, I know I am saved. Thank you, Jesus, for saving me and making me a child of God.
I believe you have said this prayer from your heart. Congratulations! You will need to join a Bible-believing and Bible-teaching church in your area where they will teach you how to live your new life in Christ Jesus. I pray that you flourish like the palm tree and grow like the cedar of Lebanon. May you grow into Christ in all things and become all God wants you to be. I will be glad to hear from you. The Lord be with you.
PRAYER POINTS: Holy Spirit, help me to practise and obey the Word of God. Let me not just listen to messages or read messages and the Bible without being a doer. Father, show me good examples to follow; protect me against bad examples. I shall not follow bad examples; I shall follow good examples in Jesus’ name.
(For over 600 in-depth and powerful messages by T. O. Banso, visit: www.cedarministry.org).
T. O. Banso is the President, Cedar Ministry International, Abuja, Nigeria.
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