“so that you became an example to all the believers” 1 Thes. 1:7
These believers became an example to follow because they were full of joy even in tough afflictions. Isn’t it easy to lose your joy when your surrounded by negative, disgruntled, hurtful, judgmental people?
If you’re a leader you often find yourself giving all your emotional and creative energy to squeaky wheels. All the while there are positive people who create energy and positive change who get none of our energy and creativity. This ought not to be.
We influence change by holding up what is good and rewarding those who are taking steps forward. If my youngest son Max does something out of complete generosity like making his brother a mangled piece of peanut butter bread, it’s my job as a father to recognize and say something praiseworthy so that the others can see that’s what we are about.
Another word for this is positive formative instruction. Hold up the good and follow hard after your values and mission. The all too common opposite is negative corrective intervention. It’s so easy to just rag on all the bad behavior. I like to think of it as cutting and tying strings. If all I ever do is cut my kids down and never tie new positive experiences and lessons they will begin to despise me. For every string cut it requires 2 fold to be tied.
Point out the beauty of creation to your kids. Be an example of positive formation. Try to give hugs. Make eye contact with people and actually listen to them. Do something creative. Raise the bar in your circle of influence by pursuing integrity, selflessness, and excellence. Become and example.
Lord I need your help to be aware of the good around me and celebrate it. Help me see who is responding to you so I can encourage them. Amen