". . . how I was with you the whole time," Acts 20:18
When it comes down to it Christians have little to offer the world without examples. Jesus did not come preaching a new philosophy. He came preaching a new way of living and dying. Holy ideas were not His main concern. Holy people were the subjects of His teaching and witness. People who, in the words of Paul, had been built up and sanctified.
Examples of holy living have always fueled the church. The suffering Christians in Iran, Pakistan, and other parts of the world preach faithfulness to the church at large. The world is quite right in assuming that if the gospel is true, then it will be embodied in the lives of people who follow Jesus.
When the faithful followers disappear, Christianity becomes an intellectual problem, a matter of academic debate. It's reduced to a thing of inarticulate emotions, or some invisible exercise, which excuses us from making disciples who look, act, and think differently from the rest of the world.
If we are unable to stand before the world and say, as Paul did, "you yourselves know how I lived among you all the time," we balk at the very idea of demonstrating how life should be lived. We say we are too modest to offer ourselves as examples to Christians, or anyone else. In reality, we are too proud to submit to the change of life and the heart that is required to testify to the gospel of the grace of God.
It's easier to say, "Who am I to tell anybody how to live?" “What difference does it make what someone does in their personal life?" When Christians cease to live fully for their Lord, both in public and private, in some very real and present way, God loses His voice in the earth.
Who in your life needs you to be a living example of the life of Christ?