Do we, as God’s people, follow other men and movements?
First let me say, “There is only ONE Man we are all to follow and allow to be LORD of our lives and that is Jesus.” Case closed right? Well, maybe not so fast. The question then becomes, “How do we follow Jesus?” How do we follow Jesus without becoming a “lone ranger” or a “truth unto ourselves”. That question causes us to look into the Word of God much more deeply for answers.
There is no way I can cover every nuance of truth concerning this subject in one post. So, in some ways, I go where angels fear to tread to present a truth which is clearly stated in the Bible. Are you ready? Are you sure? Here goes… “God has so designed His kingdom that we will follow the God-given leadership and/or vision of some man or movement.” Here is the scriptural proof:
1 Corinthians 4:16 (NASB95) 16 Therefore I exhort you, be imitators of me.
1 Corinthians 11:1 (NASB95) 1 Be imitators of me, just as I also am of Christ.
Ephesians 5:1 (NASB95 1 Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children;
1 Thessalonians 1:6 (NASB95) 6 You also became imitators of us and of the Lord, having received the word in much tribulation with the joy of the Holy Spirit,
1 Thessalonians 2:14 (NASB95) 14 For you, brethren, became imitators of the churches of God in Christ Jesus that are in Judea, for you also endured the same sufferings at the hands of your own countrymen, even as they did from the Jews,
Hebrews 6:12 (NASB95) 12 so that you will not be sluggish, but imitators of those who through faith and patience inherit the promises.
The Greek word definition for “imitators” is found in Strong’s #3401 and #3402 which says, “to mimic”, to imitate”, “to follow.” The biblical meaning is pretty clear in that we are to follow, to mimic, and to imitate those whom Jesus has called to go before us as examples.
The truth I have settled into? We, by the Holy Spirit’s prompting, will follow both Jesus in the man and the man as he follows Jesus. We will become a part of a larger movement as the movement pursues God and God is in the movement. If this is not the truth, then why go to a be part of any church? If this is true then why elect or appoint “leaders” in any church? The five-fold leadership given to the church becomes “useless” in many respects.
The question then becomes how do I find that perfect man or movement?
The answer is you never will, no matter how hard you try. Why? Because there is none perfect but the Lord Jesus Himself. That is why we never put our ultimate hope or trust in any man or movement! We are all “flawed” in some way. We all have thorns in the flesh that we are dealing with. We all, even as leaders, have kinks in our armor and a stain or two on our garments that need some Holy Spirit scrubbing from time to time. That is why you NEVER place a man or movement on a pedestal as “the lord” of your life! The throne room of your heart has room only for Jesus. Let Jesus sit there alone, all the while knowing that you will also be called to follow men and movements for the larger purposes of God.
The freewill you and I have is in the ability we have to choose who we mimic, imitate, and follow. So choose wisely by virtue of the character and anointing you recognize upon the man or movement, that is the mark of Christ’s presence. And, in doing so, never exclude yourself from the larger body of Christ in the world today. Sectarianism and elitism should never be the issue. That was the sin dealt with by the Apostle Paul in 1 Corinthians 3:1-8.
Food for thought:
- The OT pattern is clear, any time God wanted to do something upon the earth He used a man.
- Jesus was a man (God/Man) sent by God to lead men unto Himself.
- Jesus chose men who would lead other men to Him after His death, burial and resurrection.
- Men chose other men to both lead and follow in the early Church.
- The list of scriptures presented is far from exhaustive on this subject, yet they are exceptionally clear and relevant to us.
Be at peace in your own heart, let God be God, let Jesus be Lord, and let the Holy Spirit lead you. We all are responsible for our own individual choices before God. Stop worrying about what someone else is or is not going to do. Let the peace of God umpire in your own heart and choose to walk in love and forbearance with those who choose to walk to a slightly different drumbeat than you. Hopefully, we’re all marching in the same direction and in the path of the same Lord! Kingdom diversity is a God thing to ensure all have a specific purpose and destiny in His overall plan. We are merely the puzzle pieces that He alone shapes and places where He desires.