Read: John 12:26 NIV |
Follow the Leader is a children’s game very similar to “Simon says”. The object of the game is to follow the leader who is at the head of the line. All the children all line up behind the leader. The leader then moves around and all the children have to mimic the leader’s actions. Any players who mess up or do not follow what the leader does are out of the game. They get to sit on the sideline and closely watch to see who else is not following what the leader is doing. The last person standing other than the leader is now the new leader.
As we get to the pre-teen and teenage years and beyond, we outgrow that game and we play a similar game – but it does not feel like a game. We call it peer pressure. With peer pressure, a self-appointed leader(s) tries to get everyone who wants to be cool like them to follow what they do. Anyone who does not follow them is put on the sideline as “uncool” and ridiculed. In fact, some forms of peer pressure can still affect us, even as we reach adult-hood.
As we mature, another game becomes important to us. It is called “Keeping up with the Joneses”. This game occurs when we measure ourselves against others. If our neighbor or role model gets something, we want to get the same thing or better also. If they get a new smart phone, then we want newer better smart phone. If they have a nice green lawn, then we want ours to be greener with nicer flowers.
Spiritually, all this game playing is contrary from what God calls us to do. Each of these games puts someone other than Christ as the leader to follow. Jesus said in our key verse, “Whoever serves me must follow me”. We have to make sure we stop playing the earthly games and simply follow Christ.
Our life starts and ends with following Christ. Whether poor or rich, whether young or old, in fact wherever or whoever we are, just follow Him. We never know who is watching. Let me share a story of a wealthy Christian woman living in the highlands of Nairobi, Kenya. She had employed a young man as her houseboy. After three months, he asked for a letter of reference to a friendly Muslim some miles away. The lady, not wishing for the houseboy to leave just when he had learned the routine of the household, offered to increase his pay. The young man replied that he was not leaving for higher pay. Rather, he had decided to become either a Christian or a Muslim. This was why he had come to work for her for three months – he wanted to see how Christians acted. Now he wished to work for the sheik for three months to observe the ways of the Muslim. Then he would decide which way of life he would follow. The woman was stunned as she thought about all the times that she had “blown it” in her relationship with the houseboy. She could only exclaim, “Why didn’t you tell me at the beginning?” Upon reflection, who is watching us now and deciding what to do?
To stay the course, we need to learn the Word to follow the Word. Otherwise, we follow what makes sense to us versus what the Word says. Once we have learned the Word, we have to live the Word. After we are living the Word, then we can lead others to know and follow the Word as well. In fact, true followers “lead”. They lead others to “Follow ‘THE’ Leader” also.
Lead in your home with a personal Bible Study. Lead your spouse, lead at work, lead among your friends. Do not follow others. Let them follow your Christ-like ways. Just make sure that “you” are following the leader.
1. Discover – What things or people do I find myself “following”? Am I aware if others following me? Do I enjoy or encourage others following me? Should they follow me?
2. Develop – What area(s) of your spiritual life do you feel that you can be a better follower of God? Pick one and work on it this week.
3. Demonstrate – What are five things that I do that others can tell I am a follower of Christ? What are five things that I do that others may be confused if I am a follower of Christ? Discuss and develop a plan to:
A. Add more ways you can be a follower
B. Find ways to eliminate confusion about if you are a follower.