Follow the Leader
"This is what the Lord says— your Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel: “I am the Lord your God, who teaches you what is good for you and leads you along the paths you should follow." Isaiah 48:17
Have you ever played Follow the Leader?
I remember playing the game at Mendel Elementary School in Houston as a child. Two girls in particular seemed to always want to be the leader. One of the girls did a great job as the leader. We would go over the monkey bars, swing on the rope swing, zig-zag around the backstop, and all sorts of creative and fun things. But, for some reason, not very many people wanted to follow her. I never understood why. Most of the kids were eager to follow another girl. This girl would start out fine, but would soon lead the students through the mud, into the tall, itchy weeds, around all the stinging bugs she could find, and would finally end up throwing kickballs at us. Someone always ended up getting hurt when she was the leader. It made me not want to play anymore.
It's a lot like life.
Have you noticed that? People tend to follow this person and that person. But, there's a pretty big problem with that . . . this person and that person aren't Jesus . . . they're fallible. Sometimes their motives are all wrong.
Popularity does not dictate truth, either.
Often teachers who are popular and charismatic can end up leading us through the mud, into the itchy weeds, stinging bugs, and end up throwing kickballs at us before we even realize what's happening. I've found that the people who are really teaching God's truth are quite humble and sometimes unpopular. But, they do something really important: They take us to their leader, Jesus Christ.
It's nothing new. Paul encountered this issue with the New Testament Church in the Holy Bible.
1 Corinthians 3:4-5 tells us, "When one of you says, “I am a follower of Paul,” and another says, 'I follow Apollos,' aren’t you acting just like people of the world? After all, who is Apollos? Who is Paul? We are only God’s servants through whom you believed the Good News. Each of us did the work the Lord gave us."
Notice that Paul continued to point the people back to their true leader--Jesus Christ.
Acts 13:45 says it yet again, "Many Jews and devout converts to Judaism followed Paul and Barnabas, and the two men urged them to continue to rely on the grace of God."
A true teacher of God's Word will always humbly point you back to the One you should be following: Christ alone. If they don't, then you shouldn't be following.
Take me to your leader.