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Follow The Leader?

This is something I recently found that I wrote back in 2001.

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follow-the-leader

Adults, do you play follow the leader?

Follow the leader — what a great game for preschoolers. Now that I am much older, I look back at those days gone by and wonder what I really learned from this harmless little childhood game. How can I apply these “lessons learned” to my life in the here and now?

First I learned to let others dictate what I do. I do not have to think for myself; just follow the crowd. Do not question the leader’s abilities or his/her qualifications as the leader. Lastly, do whatever you can, at any cost, to become the leader. Wait a minute! Are we still talking about a childhood game or life in general? Makes you stop and wonder, does it not?

As we get older these “rules” are essential to our survival in life. Exodus 20:12a tells us, “Honor your father and mother…” and Romans 13:2 warns us, “…he who rebels against the authority is rebelling against who God has instituted, and those who do so will bring judgment on themselves.” How do we prevent mindless following but not rebel against authority and also honor our parents? Our parents and those in authority over us when we were children instilled in us morals, a sense of right and wrong and general social etiquette. This is especially true if your parents took you to church on a regular basis. Mom and dad were the ones to lay down the law for you. There was no question of what you should do; the question was “Do I do it or do I face the consequences of not doing it?” Our parents definitely had the previous experience of leading us from their mistakes that they learned and they would not knowingly lead our infantile minds astray.

Pastors are authority figures that we take for granted. We often sit in the pews Sunday after Sunday like a sponge soaking up what we are told without question. I have been very fortunate to have had two wonderful Pastors, one at my home church and one at the church where I currently attend. I consider both of these gentlemen to be great men of God. One thing I admire about both of them is they have both said (from their respective pulpit) “Do not just accept what I tell you. Look it up and research it on your own. I am human and may unintentionally lead you astray. Please hold me accountable to assure that what I speak is the one and only God inspired truth.” I have a great deal of respect for someone like that who openly admits his faults and his limits. Romans 10:17 says, “Consequently, faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the word of Christ.” Notice it says “…through the word of Christ” and not “…through the word of the Pastor or Preacher.”

Matthew 16:24 tells us that life is not about us. “Then Jesus said to His disciples, ‘If anyone would come after Me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow Me” (emphasis mine). If we follow the ultimate Leader, things will work out in the end. Taking the focus off of Christ and placing it on ourselves can cause utter chaos and can lead others astray. 1 Timothy 4:16 “Watch your life and doctrine closely. Persevere in them, because if you do, you will save both yourself and your hearers.”

We will go through many times in our life where we question anything and everything. Make sure that your faith is your own and not your parents’, you Pastor’s, or anyone else’s. Questioning your faith makes you grow. Proverbs 14:15 informs us, “A simple man believes anything, but a prudent man gives thought to his steps.” It is okay to play follow the leader, but make sure you are following the right Leader!

Photo Credit: By Ben Hoyt

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