Who Are Your Role Models?

One sign of maturity is when a person learns to admire others less for their abilities and accomplishments than for their character.

It’s fine to applaud people for their skill in athletics, finance, the arts, a craft, or whatever. There’s nothing wrong with admiring someone who has built a thriving business, made a scientific dis­covery, written a hit song, or scored a winning goal. We naturally want to celebrate and imitate success. That’s often what we mean when we speak of someone as a “role model.”

But talent is not the true measure of a person. Some people with tremendous abilities have set terrible personal examples, living per­verse, self-destructive lifestyles, perhaps even cutting short their own lives as a result. Think of the number of actors, athletes, and musicians whose lives have been defined by—and sometimes de­stroyed by—drugs, alcohol, and/or sex. Think of the many brilliant businessmen and politicians who have been laid low by corruption or scandal. We may admire their talents, but can we really say we want to be like them?

Think of your role models—the people you seek to be close to, the ones you want to imitate. Why do you admire them, really? Because they’ve made lots of money? Because they’re beautiful? Because they can run, or sing, or act, or write, or make deals? Look deeper. If all that were taken away, would you still want to be like them? Would you even want to know them?

As people of God, we should place the greatest value on what He values. “But to this one I will look, to him who is humble and contrite of spirit, and who trembles at My word” (Isaiah 66:2). Now that’s a life worth imitating.

“Imitate me, just as I also imitate Christ,” wrote the apostle Paul (1 Corin­thians 10:1). There could be no better role model than Jesus, who lived without sin and died to save you. Are you seeking to be more like Him?