7 For yourselves know how ye ought to follow us: for we behaved not ourselves disorderly among you.
The early Christians paid much attention to learning from the apostles. Acts 2:42 records, “And they continued steadfastly in the apostles’ doctrine and fellowship”. In fact, the early Christians also paid attention to the apostles’ conduct. Many of the early Christians, who came from heathen families and societies, were accustomed to immoral and ungodly ways of life. Even those who came from Jewish background needed to shed their hypocritical, legalistic way of life. They knew that the best examples they could pattern their lives after, were the lives of the apostles and those who walked after them.
The apostles had always been careful to provide an example for the early Christians. So Paul could undoubtedly say, “for we behaved not ourselves disorderly among you”. In his earlier epistle to the Thessalonians, Paul reminded them, “Ye are witnesses, and God also, how holily and justly and unblameably we behaved ourselves among you that believe” (1 Thessalonians 2:10). The lives of the apostles constitute an irrefutable testimony of the kind of godly living which they could hold up before all Christians and say, “Now, follow us.” Paul said, “Wherefore I beseech you, be ye followers of me” (1 Corinthians 4:16). Again he said in 1 Corinthians 11:1, “Be ye followers of me, even as I also am of Christ.” To the Philippian saints, he beseeched, “Brethren, be followers together of me, and mark them which walk so as ye have us for an ensample” (Philippians 3:17).
It is God’s will that the ministers of the Word should be examples to the flock. To Timothy, his protégé in the ministry, Paul said, “be thou an example of the believers, in word, in conversation, in charity, in spirit, in faith, in purity” (1 Timothy 4:12). In similar fashion, Peter admonished the elders, “Neither as being lords over God’s heritage, but being ensamples to the flock” (1 Peter 5:3). An important and abiding duty of every leader of the church in all ages is that he should so live his life that his people can follow his example to live a life of piety. Unfortunately, many leaders of the churches today are seen having the “Do as I say, not as I do” philosophy. Leading by example is often missing in many pastorates in these days. A pastor should never live in a manner which another believer cannot do likewise. In both public and secret areas of his life, he must be blameless and worthy of emulation. So, pray for exemplary pastors!