Q: Who do you think was the greatest Christian who ever lived? I’m not just being curious, because whoever it was, I’d like to try to follow their example. — J.R.R.
A: Only God knows our hearts and minds, and only he knows who has followed Christ most faithfully across the ages. I suspect, however, that it probably would be someone you and I have never heard of, someone who humbly lived for Christ in very difficult and obscure circumstances, but loved Christ and lived for him regardless of the cost. Jesus said, “Be faithful until death, and I will give you the crown of life” (Revelation 2:10, NKJV).
But let me point out two truths. First, even the most faithful Christian you will ever meet isn’t perfect, and they’d be the first to say that you shouldn’t slavishly follow their example. Learn from them, be thankful for them, apply lessons from their lives to your own life, but don’t make them your model. Even the Apostle Paul told people not to follow him if he wasn’t following Christ. He said, “Follow my example, as I follow the example of Christ” (1 Corinthians 11:1).
Second, only Christ is worthy to be your example. He was God in human flesh, and as such, he alone was perfect and without sin. His love was perfect; his purity was perfect; his obedience to his heavenly Father was perfect. And because he was perfect, he alone was able to take upon himself your sins and mine, and give his life as the final sacrifice for our salvation.
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Make sure of your commitment to Jesus Christ. Then ask him to help you become the person he wants you to be, thanking him for his forgiveness and experiencing the joy of his presence every day.
Write to the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, 1 Billy Graham Parkway, Charlotte, N.C., 28201 or go to BillyGraham.org.