Constructing a Solid Example

My father was a builder, so I grew up watching houses under construction. I learned several things: a sturdy house requires a firm foundation, and the “footprint” of a house can be deceptive (during early construction the house looks smaller than it really is).

Constructing a solid reputation by the example you set is somewhat like building a house. At first glance, it may appear that little things—actions and words—don’t matter, but they do. If you don’t take time to anchor deeply, your foundational support is shaky. And like bricks and mortar, it takes years of thoughtful living – one action and word on top of another – to produce a good example. 

Somebody’s Watching You

 For many years, I walked our neighborhood daily in all kinds of weather. One day, I met a neighbor I didn’t know, and she said, “You are my role model. If you can walk every day, so can I.”

Often, we have the mistaken idea that we’re invisible to most of the people around us. But folks are more observant than we imagine, especially if our actions don’t mirror what we say. People of faith and integrity are under greater scrutiny and held to higher standards. The example we set should be thoughtful, faith-driven, and sincere.


Who is Your Role Model?

 When a builder constructs a house, he goes by a blueprint or set of drawings. An architect puts hours into designing for convenience and traffic flow, checking dimensions, routing plumbing and wiring, and studying engineering aspects, like whether walls can bear the weight of the floor above, before issuing the drawing for construction. If the builder doesn’t look at the drawings frequently, the house may end up with structural problems and a less-than-pleasing appearance.

Likewise, if we don’t have a plan, and fail to consult God’s blueprint for our lives, we can easily end up with a life full of inconsistencies. Forward motion hinges on planning, wisdom, and execution.

Some people admire and pattern themselves after rock stars, millionaires, and sports icons. Others copy the lives of peers, so the example you set really does matter. You may be the only example of honesty, wisdom, stability, and spiritual maturity others see.

The Lure of the World

 When a house is put out for bids, contractors give an estimate based on cost of materials, labor, and profit. The lowest bid isn’t always the best because to build for that price, the contractor may cut expenses by using cheaper, inferior materials, or less skilled laborers. Once finished, the house may look great from the curb, but soon problems crop up.

When we cut corners in our spiritual development or compromise principles, our lives begin to resemble substandard housing. We may look impressive on the outside, but inside we are crumbling.

Scripture reminds us to live in the world without adopting the patterns of the world. This is challenging because our nature leans toward popularity and fitting in with those around us. But if we follow Christ’s example, we’ll have a different set of priorities.

What’s in a Name?

 Over the years, my father earned a longstanding reputation for constructing solid houses that stood the test of time. Although he died years ago, people still tell me how well-constructed his houses are and how thankful they are to live in a house he built. Because he didn’t cut corners with quality in construction and set an example of honesty and integrity with his life, his name and good reputation live beyond his lifetime.

Although many don’t realize it, a poor example damages personal reputations. Actions really do speak louder than words. When we set an example that employs wise, faith-based decisions, others notice and are challenged to live more intentionally.

Ultimately, your reputation is all you’ve have. What people remember most is not your wealth, your appearance, or your accomplishments in school, sports, business, or society. People remember whether your example reflects honesty, integrity, and your beliefs.

Like the early “footprint” of a house, the example your life sets is larger and more far-reaching than it may appear to you. Choose wisely as you build an example that resembles the Master Builder’s design.

“Always set a good example for others” (Titus 2:7 CEV).


Candy Arrington is a writer, blogger, speaker, and freelance editor. She often writes on tough topics with a focus on moving through, and beyond, difficult life circumstances. Candy has written hundreds of articles, stories, and devotionals published by numerous outlets including:,,,,, Focus on the Family,,, and Writer’s Digest. Candy’s books include Life on Pause: Learning to Wait Well (Bold Vision Books), When Your Aging Parent Needs Care (Harvest House), and AFTERSHOCK: Help, Hope, and Healing in the Wake of Suicide (B&H Publishing Group).

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