“Let’s play follow the leader!”
Remember saying that? We’ve all played that age-old game. Running around the yard, doing exactly what the leader did.
As you played that game years ago, could you have imagined saying it many years in the future but in reference to your life?
Paul was a leader and encouraged the Philippian believers to follow him, “Dear brothers and sisters, pattern your lives after mine, and learn from those who follow our example.” (Phil. 3:17 NLT)
In essence, Paul said, “Be co-imitators of my life.” “Learn from those who shape their lives after us.” “Mimic us and observe those that live as we do.” “We” meaning Paul and his other followers who were living exemplary lives. They were setting an example, a pattern of living, something worthy of being imitated.
He also told the Corinthians, “Follow my example, as I follow the example of Christ.” (1 Cor. 11:1 NIV)
Why was Paul a good leader? Why was he able to tell others to follow him? Because he truly followed the Lord.
Can we say the same about our lives?
Our lives will more than likely be a disappointment to others at some time or another. The Lord never said we were perfect. But He said He is. And our lives should point to Christ as the Perfect One to follow.
Jesus has always entreated others to align themselves with Him. He started by calling the Disciple Dozen to follow Him.
One day on the lakeshore of Capernaum, as Jesus walked through the crowd gathered there and was teaching them, He saw Levi, a tax collector. He looked at him and said, “Follow Me.” No other conversation. Levi got up, left his old way of life, and followed Jesus. He is otherwise known as the disciple Matthew.
Jesus called Simon Peter and his brother Andrew as they fished. He called James and his brother John as they mended their nets. One day in Galilee, Jesus found Philip and called him to follow.
All the disciples left their old way of life and followed Jesus.
On one occasion, Jesus spoke to the disciples and a crowd, saying, “If any of you wants to be My follower…you must put aside your own pleasures and shoulder your cross, and follow Me closely.” (Mark 8:34 TLB)
And He speaks the same to us. “Leave it all behind and follow Me!”
Jesus said, “If anyone serves Me, let him follow Me; and where I am, there My servant will be also. If anyone serves Me, him My Father will honor.” (John 12:26 NKJV)
By definition, if anyone is serving Jesus by being an attendant, ministering to one, waiting at a table offering food and drink to guests, supplying food and the necessaries of life, taking care of the poor and the sick, serving as deacons, serving another’s interests, s/he is to also follow Jesus.
If we’re going to serve Him, we must walk as He walked, do as He did, follow His lead.
In other words, we can’t just “play” follow the leader. We must be sure that what we are doing in service to Jesus is truly following Him and not just doing works. “To follow” means to be in the same way with, to accompany as a disciple. A disciple is one who imitates Jesus’ example by serving others. True service brings honor.
If we follow Jesus, Paul urges us, “Above all, you must live as citizens of heaven, conducting yourselves in a manner worthy of the Good News about Christ” (Phil. 1:27 NLT), to walk “worthy of God who calls you into His own kingdom and glory” (1 Thess. 2:12 NKJV), and “now, just as you accepted Christ Jesus as your Lord, you must continue to follow Him.” (Col. 2:6 NLT)
We need to ask ourselves…
Am I “playing” follow the leader?
Is my life worth imitating?
Have I left my old way of living to follow Jesus?
Am I truly serving others?
Am I living my life for God’s glory?
Our prayer should be as David’s, “Lead me by Your truth and teach me, for You are the God who saves me. All day long I put my hope in You.” (Ps. 25:5 NLT)
Are you like this…
Or can you say to others with confidence, “Follow me”?