The Apostle Paul said, "Follow my example, as I follow the example of Christ."1
I have read how "H. Gordon Selfridge built up one of the world's largest department stores in London. He achieved success by being a leader, not a boss. Here is his comparison of the two types of executives:
The boss drives his men; the leader coaches them.
The boss depends on authority; the leader on good will.
The boss inspires fear; the leader enthusiasm.
The boss says 'I'; the leader says 'we.'
The boss fixes the blame for the breakdown; the leader fixes the breakdown.
The boss knows how it is done; the leader shows how.
The boss says 'Go'; the leader says 'Let's go!'"2
The greatest way to lead is by example. This principle also applies to parenting, for unless we model what we say and teach, our words may do more to drive our children away from, rather than draw them to the good we desire for them to learn and put into practice. Children catch on pretty quickly when we are being hypocritical.
And above all, when it comes to modeling authentic Christianity, it is imperative that we lead and teach by example. While the right words at the right time are very important, it's what we do much more than what we say that counts. As the old saying goes, "To win some we need to be winsome."
Suggested prayer: "Dear God, help me to be genuine and authentic in all that I am, do and say so that my life will model what it means to be a true Christian and follower of Jesus Christ, first for my family, and then for every life I touch. Thank you for hearing and answering my prayer. Gratefully, in Jesus' name, amen."
1. 1 Corinthians 11:1 (NIV).
2. Gordon Selfridge. Cited in Encyclopedia of 7700 Illustrations, by Paul Lee Tan, Page 719. Assurance Publishers, Rockville, Maryland. © 1979.