Model It – It’s Just a Phase

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“Do as I say; not as I do.”

Most of us have heard this admonitory phrase at some point in our lives, but how many of us know its origin? In doing some research, I found that variations of this phrase have been penned for generations.

  • June 24, 1911 the Spectator published this advice: “It has always been considered allowable to say to children, ‘Do as I say rather than as I do.’”
  • The book Table Talk, written by John Selden in 1654 and posthumously published in 1689 says, “Preachers say, ‘Do as I say, not as I do.’”
  • In 1546, John Heywood was quoted as saying, “It is as folk do, and not as folk say.”
  • In the 12th century, the Anglo-Saxons were known to say, “Although I do worse than I teach you, do not do as I do, but do as I teach you if I teach you well.”
  • And I saved the best for last—between 80 and 90 AD, Jesus said, “So practice and obey whatever they tell you, but don’t follow their example. For they don’t practice what they teach” (Matthew 23:3).

Last weekend, we had the privilege of listening to a panel of parents who are in different phases and stages of parenting bestow pearls of wisdom they have amassed over the years. Ben and Lauren Snyder gave us three clear, repeatable values with which to equip our kids to be capable in life and to win outside of the home environment. These three values are:

  1. To be respectful—treat others as they would like to be treated.
  2. To be responsible—take care of others’ things as they would like their things to be taken care of.
  3. To be safe—make wise choices given the circumstances around them.

Ben and Lauren model these values, keeping in mind the family goal of “relationship.” A foundation on a relationship with Jesus is primary, and they are always striving to maintain relationships with their children. They also navigate the challenges among their kids so they will maintain relationships with each other. Their hope is to build a foundation, so 50 years from now, their families will be drawn to each other and want to spend time together.

Remember that our kids are watching and listening to how we respond to life’s challenges. We need to equip them with positive techniques so they will be prepared for the future when they too face difficulties.

1 Corinthians 11:1
And you should imitate me, just as I imitate Christ.

The Apostle Paul wrote this to the Christians in Corinth because he knew they needed an example to follow, and he was willing to be that example. It was not “Paul” whom the Corinthians should follow, but rather, “Paul the Christ follower.”

As Christ followers, we need to model Jesus’ teachings to show others what life is really all about. We should forgive everyone and get our satisfaction from helping and serving others, just as Jesus did. He washed the disciples’ feet so they would understand why he was here and what they needed to do. Being a role model was an important part of his ministry; similarly, role modeling should be an important part of our lives.

Have you ever told your kids to do as you say and not as you do? If so, how could you have handled this in a way that reflects Jesus?

Are you modeling a life worth imitating, a life as a Christ follower? If not, what could you do to rectify this?

Can you see any benefits of modeling Jesus to others? If so, what are they?

Next Steps:
Make a list of characteristics that Jesus exhibited while he was on earth. Now decide how to incorporate these characteristics into your life. Make a plan of how to overcome the challenges of truly modeling these characteristics.

Our series, It’s Just a Phase, is ending, but the Family Faith Plan remains available. If you haven’t looked at it yet, check it out today.

Dear heavenly Father, thank you for sending Jesus to this world. Grant me wisdom so I may know the characteristics of Jesus. Give me the courage to be a role model to others, just as Jesus was a role model to the disciples. Open my eyes so I may see the benefits of modeling Jesus to others. In his name I pray, amen.

This post was written by Jennifer Macke. Jenn has a son, daughter, granddaughter, and grandson, and she thanks God every day for them. She is enjoying retirement and feels blessed to be writing for LivingItOut. She was raised in an Evangelical Church, but her spiritual life awakened when she started attending CedarCreek.

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1 reply
  1. Julie Estep
    Julie Estep says:

    Do as I say and not as I do. Rather, I do as Jesus does, and you should too. Hmn, my child is an adult now. I did the best I could with what I had. I can’t help but feel I failed. The choices being made now are breaking my heart, and pulling us apart. God help us. Thanks for writing today Jan!

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