1 Timothy 4:12 "Be thou an example of the believers, in word, in conversation, in charity, in spirit, in purity."
I love this verse in 1 Timothy! It doesn't just tell us to be an example but goes on to explain how to do it. A believer is a follower of Jesus Christ. We want to be like him. The things he taught have meaning for us. Pres. Monson gave excellent counsel when he said, " Make every decision you contemplate pass this test: What does it do to me? What does it do for me? And let your code of conduct emphasize not, What will others think? but rather, What will I think of myself." He gives us a place to start as we try to emulate the Savior.
What kind of words do we speak? Are they uplifting and kind? What is our tone of voice and are our expressions ones that reflect a happy person? A smile comes naturally when we speak good words.
The Greek word for conversation refers to our conduct or behavior, If we were to repeat the scripture inserting the words conduct or behavior for conversation, the meaning of the scripture expands.
We all know that charity is the Pure Love of Christ. Charity is not something we do but it is a characteristic we want to acquire.
What is spirit? Spirit is what strengthens testimony and builds faith. Pres. Monson taught, "When firmly planted, your testimony will influence all that you do throughout your life." Faith is action. The Apostle James in the New Testament said, "I will shew thee my faith by my works." Faith is something we do. So then testimony and faith go hand in hand.
And last is purity. If we apply the simple meaning of purity which is without fault or sinless, most of us would say it cannot be done. But if we apply Pres. Hinkley's invitation to "Just do the very best you can, but be sure it is your very best", things would look much different.
So let's apply our definitions.
We will be an example of Jesus Christ, in the things we say, in our conduct or behavior, applying the love of Christ, with testimony, with action, and doing the very best we can.
It is my sincere desire that through this sacred season you may be comforted with this simple definition of how to be an example. I hope it helps in your callings, through your service to home and family, and with friends and neighbors. May the sweet blessings of Christmas be with all of you.