I’m not always good at playing the church edition of “Follow the Leader” and this can be problematic if that leader happens to be God! It’s important to do as we are asked to by those who we are subordinate to, but I don’t believe in doing so blindly and without thought. When being an obedient follower leads to unethical devotion and a major compromise of our values when need to take some time to stop and ask ourselves: why am I following this person and where is this person leading me.
Last week a well-known televangelist made headlines resulting from asking members of his congregation to help fund his goal of purchasing a G650 jet airplane. After his campaign received negative attention in the mainstream media, the pastor’s church pulled the fundraising ads. Over the past several months there has also been media attention about a hot yoga yogini who is being sued by various people for alleged sexual harassment. There were devoted followers who stopped following this leaders yoga practices after the accusations came to light. These two men haven’t fallen from grace just yet, but this was not the case for another famous leader; a bestselling, mega-church pastor from the Seattle area.
Are you a follower of Christ? Is the God of the Hebrew scripture your one and only God? If you can answer yes to both of these questions, this will hopefully help to keep you from following questionable leaders.
When a leader you’ve been following, whether it be in the workplace, the home, the church, in the media, or any other area of your life, is exposed for having done something wrong, your world shouldn’t fall apart. The faults of a leader shouldn’t cause you to lose your faith in God, because ultimately you are following Him and not the person who is in a leadership position.
We are all flawed, this is the reality of the human condition. Paul reminds us of that when he writes, “21 But now, apart from law, the righteousness of God has been disclosed, and is attested by the law and the prophets, 22 the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all who believe. For there is no distinction, 23 since all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God; 24 they are now justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, 25 whom God put forward as a sacrifice of atonement by his blood, effective through faith had passed. He did this to show his righteousness, because in his divine forbearance he over the sins previously committed; 26 it was to prove at the present time that he himself is righteous and that he justifies the one who has faith in Jesus.”(Romans 3:21-26)
I’ve been disappointed, let down, hoodwinked, lied to, and cheated by a number of leaders in my life, but in the end I learned a difficult lesson. What the Holy Spirit has taught me has been a reminder to never place 100% trust in anyone, not because I have doubts about a person, that’s not necessarily the case. What I’m being reminded of is our imperfections, both as leaders and followers. Only God is perfect, and if you remember that, it will help you go a long ways in avoiding the human habit of blindly following another person without internally and sometimes externally questioning their actions.
God is a faithful God. He never lies to us, misleads us, abuses us, or asks for luxury material goods so that he can “better serve us”. All these things I’ve listed are the attributes of a selfish leader, not a godly one.
QUESTION: Are there any leaders in your life that you sometimes blindly follow without stopping to ask yourself if their actions and the demands they place on you are in line with your values?
Do you place more trust in the leadership of others than you do in the leadership of God?
Who are some solid and/or godly leaders in your life?
REFLECTION: During your prayer time ask God to reveal to you any areas in your life where you might be placing too much hope and faith in a leader or subordinate. Ask God to reveal to you any areas in your life where you have not placed your faith in Him. Remember to give thanks for those leaders who are just and faithful to the Lord, who in turn lead you to a closer relationship to the Lord and those who bring out the best in you. Peace.