“I am not a role model.” Do you remember when Hall of Fame basketball player Charles Barkley uttered these infamous words in a 1993 Nike commercial?
Barkley’s point was that being a famous entertainer does not make someone a role model, and he went on to identify who he believed should be a role model to kids — their parents.
I agree with “Sir Charles” in that regard. Parents should serve as positive influences, guides, mentors and, yes, even “role models” for their children. The truth is, whether in a positive or negative light, parents do serve as role models whether they intend to or not. It comes with the territory, and anyone who is blessed with the responsibility of being a parent knows just how fragile and beautiful this parenting dynamic is.
But that is not the point of this post.
See, the point that I do want to address is this; I, Shane Hansen, am not a role model.
As I review my own life, knowing my personal thoughts/words/actions, my day-to-day life as a husband and father, how I serve clients as a Christian life coach, even in the work that I do with young adults through the youth ministry role that I serve in at a local church — in every aspect of reviewing who I am on my own, I know that while I may put on a good front, in all honesty I am not a role model.
I have been blessed with many spiritual gifts, seek to love/serve God in all aspects of my life, and try to keep things in their proper perspective and priority. Faith and family first. Seek justice, love mercy, walk humbly with my God. Treat others the way I would like to be treated. Love my neighbor. You get the picture…
But I know. Yes, I know. I know that when I honestly break it down and review my life, I wouldn’t want my kids, friends, or anyone who is looking for someone/something to follow, to model their lives after me. Not all of me at least.
As someone who is 100% all-in with my Christian faith, I am fully aware of the arguments that non-believers reference when stating why they don’t follow/believe Christianity. One of the top reasons is that they look at people who claim to be Christians and they see messy lives that look like a bunch of judgmental hypocrites.
Non-believers often say something along the lines of, “Why would I want to be a part of a religion, and follow a God, whose believers are committing the same crimes, and living the same filthy lifestyles, as everyone else. I can live that way if I want to, without the guilt/judgement of feeling like I am sinning all of the time, and without being compelled to give money to their Ponzi scheme.”
Harsh, yes, but I get it. A couple of sentences ago I just admitted to my own failures in life, even as a believer/follower of Christ, and as someone who literally coaches others on living a Christian lifestyle. And I look around and see so many others all over the world who also claim to be Christians, even leaders within the Christian church, but who (like me) are littered with failure and sin. It isn’t enough to say, “do as I say, not as I do.” That doesn’t cut it in the “real world”. And that doesn’t cut it in terms of living the perfect life that God demands of us in order to enter into eternity in heaven for, “nothing impure will ever enter it”. (Revelation 21:27)
See what I mean? I am not a role model.
But, the beautiful thing is that I don’t have to be. That’s not what being a Christian is all about!
Sure, we absolutely strive to do our best every day as we seek to live out our proclaimed Christian values, and to follow God’s will for us. But we fail, over and over again. The life changing realization is this though — it isn’t about us, it is about Christ, and His perfection. You see, through Christ, our failures are wiped clean!
“Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit of life set me free from the law of sin and death.” (Romans 8:1-2)
To quote lyrics from the song "Greater", by MercyMe; “There are days that I’ll lose the battle but grace says that it doesn’t matter because the cross has already won the war.”
Other religions are all about what YOU do. For sinners like me, what we do is continuously trip over ourselves. Temptations, habits, failures…it’s heavy stuff, and “the wages of sin is death” (Romans 6:23) — and not “just” physical death, but an eternal spiritual death/isolation from God, and all things associated with His light and His love. Not a fun place to be. Literally, that is hell.
But, Christianity is different. It is not at all about what we do. It is all about what GOD does!
He loves us (John 3:16)
He knows that we are not able to live perfect lives (Psalm 51:5, Romans 3:10)
He lives perfection for us (2 Corinthians 5:21)
He forgives us (Luke 23:34)
He stands in our place (1 Peter 2:22)
He dies an innocent death for us (1 Peter 2:24-25)
He is victorious over death, hell and the devil (1 Corinthians 15:55-57)
He rises again in victory and ascends to heaven (Matthew 28:6, Acts 1:9)
He redeems us through His grace/mercy (Ephesians 2:8-9)
He goes “to prepare a place for you” (John 14:2), in heaven. A place that we can acquire not of our own doing but of His blood, love, mercy, grace and by the power of the Holy Spirit bringing us to faith/redemption in/through Jesus Christ.
“but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Romans 6:23)
He does all of that for each one of us!
You see, I am not a role model. If others look to me (or any of my other brothers and sisters in Christ for that matter) eventually they are going to be let down. I am not good enough. I am a sinner. I will let you down, guaranteed.
But that’s a good thing, as it helps us realize/appreciate our salvation through something/someone bigger (and better) than ourselves! When we know how weak/insufficient we are on our own, we open our hearts and minds to knowing the only One who is a true role model. “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” (2 Corinthians 12:9) He is the One who “will never leave you nor forsake you.” (Deuteronomy 31:6)
I am talking about none other than the “author and perfecter of our faith” (Hebrews 12:2), Jesus Christ. And what did Jesus tell us to do?
“Follow me…” (Matthew 4:19)
“Come to me…” (Matthew 11:28)
“Trust in God, trust also in me.” (John 14:1)
Did you see a recurring theme there? “Me”, meaning Him, Jesus.
He didn’t say to follow other Christians, or to follow leaders of the church. Our call is to follow Him. Our religion is called “Christianity” (followers of Christ).
Despite a popular misconception these days, the Christian religion is not about following and serving friends, leaders, dynamic speakers or even other Christians. Of course, friends and leaders are important to have, and surrounding ourselves with other brothers and sisters in the faith is an encouraging/supportive network to be a part of — but they are NOT who we are called to follow. As Christians, we are followers of Christ.
Christ only. Period.
And so we follow Him. We do our best to follow His teachings and His example for how to live our lives. We know that through Him we are declared “co-heirs with Christ” (Romans 8:17), which means that “if you confess with your mouth, ‘Jesus is Lord,’ and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.” (Romans 10:9)
I asked Jesus, “How much do you love me Lord?”
He lovingly looked at me and replied, “This much.”
Then He stretched out His arms and died for me on the cross.
“Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends.” (John 15:13)
He did all of it for you, and for me.
That’s a real role model.
May God’s blessings of faith, hope and love continue to guide and sustain you in peace and joy as you look to the cross for the only role model that any of us will ever need; Jesus Christ.
Coach Shane is a disciple of Jesus Christ, a husband, a father, and an entrepreneur. He is an International Coach Federation (ICF) trained life coach and graduate of the Certified Professional Life Coach (CPLC) program through the Christian Coach Institute. He also holds a Bachelor’s Degree (BA) and Master’s Degree in Business Administration (MBA).
Coach Shane has a heart for helping men, families, professionals, leaders and young adults in their earthly walks as they continue to grow and develop into the family, church, business, and community leaders that God is calling them to become. He does not teach about the Bible or religion as a trained Pastor or theologian would, but rather relates Christian principles to the everyday walk of earthly life, doing so from a layman’s perspective. Applying a Christian perspective to real life. For more information visit Shane Hansen, Christian Life Coach, LLC.
PHONE: (920) 428-1564
FACEBOOK: Shane Hansen, Christian Life Coach, LLC