Summary: If we are going to play follow the leader in this life, we had better be sure we are following the RIGHT leader, Jesus. Anyone else could and will lead us away from where God would love to have all of us arrive in the end…in His arms. Will you follow Him?
How many of us have played the game, Follow the Leader? It’s a simple game where one person plays the ‘leader’ and all the other participants have to ‘follow’ wherever and whatever the leader does; walk where they walk, walk HOW they walk, or run or crawl or hop. The game is fun if you have a leader who makes it interesting and fun for others to follow them. If they simply walk in a straight line, the followers quickly get bored, and may even choose not to play anymore. Or, they may ask for someone else to be the leader instead.
But, if there are lots of different things going on, and the followers have to keep up with all that the leader is doing, it’s much more interesting, and much more fun. Others sitting on the sidelines may even choose to join in the game.
As we continue in our walk through Paul’s letter to the Christians in Philippi, we’re going to see a little bit of ‘follow the leader’ in his closing remarks to that church
17Join with others in following my example, brothers, and take note of those who live according to the pattern we gave you. 18For, as I have often told you before and now say again even with tears, many live as enemies of the cross of Christ. 19Their destiny is destruction, their god is their stomach, and their glory is in their shame. Their mind is on earthly things. 20But our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ, 21who, by the power that enables him to bring everything under his control, will transform our lowly bodies so that they will be like his glorious body.
1Therefore, my brothers, you whom I love and long for, my joy and crown, that is how you should stand firm in the Lord, dear friends!
In verse 17, Paul exhorts us to join with others in following his example. How many ‘others’ were there; tens, hundred, maybe thousands of other believers were already following the example set by Paul. He is a great example of what it means to be a follower of Jesus Christ. A sign of a good or even great leader is that they lead by example. Paul shows us this through his life and the way he lived it.
He first made a complete turnaround in his lifestyle when he met Jesus on the road to Damascus. Paul had been on his there to round up Christians and arrest them and bring them as prisoners to Jerusalem when suddenly the Lord Jesus spoke to him about his persecuting ways. After Paul was obedient in following the Lord’s instructions, he was baptized; he sat under the disciples’ teaching about Christ, and then immediately began preaching that Jesus was the Son of God. He did a 180 - from persecuting Christ, to preaching Christ. He was changed from someone who watched as Christians died for their faith to one who would give his life for the Lord he loved and who loved him.
What about us? How has our life changed since being introduced to Jesus Christ, the Creator of the Universe? Can we say that we were once living completely for ourselves and now we live for the One who loves us? Are willing to live for God by showing His love to others, by not being caught up in the patterns of this world, by changing the way we think of others and by changing the way we treat each other. Will others see that change in us?
** I’d like to show you a sort music video to illustrate the power of example…
(Clip - Rodney Atkins, Watching You)
In society today, we are often led to follow the example of someone in order to gain what they have attained. It could be a commercial of someone driving a certain kind of car, and by driving that car, we could have a live like the person in the ad. Or maybe it’s an infomercial about an exercise product that will help us lose weight and have a body just like the actors we see on TV. Or maybe if we wear that certain designer outfit, or drink that brand of beer, or buy that special limited time offer, our lives will be changed from what we have now into whatever it is the creators of those ads want us to THINK we could be like in life. But are they true? Are they legitimate examples of life at its best?
Paul also states that we should follow his example in 1 Corinthians 11:1 Follow my example as I follow the example of Christ. (NIV). You see, it’s not Paul bragging so much about what we should see in him as much as WHO we should see in him. The example is Christ; Paul’s example was Christ, and our example is Christ.