Friday, October 09, 2009

Who Are You Following?

Isn't it amazing who some people will follow? No matter how they were treated by that person. Some follow others purely for selfish reasons, others simply out of amazement. But when is it is right not to follow someone? Let me be more specific. For the Christian what kind of people should he/she follow? First, the obvious, you must follow the Lord Jesus Christ. Jesus said in Luke 9:23, "And He was saying to them all, "If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross daily and follow Me" (emphasis added).

Second, you must follow only after those who follow Jesus. Yes, everyone is claiming they follow Jesus but there are some distinguishing characteristics that accompany those who truly follow Jesus. Notice the examples from the apostle John's first letter. He says:

  • Children of God have true “fellowship...with the Father and with His Son Jesus Christ” (1:3)
  • Children of God “walk in the light as He is in the light” (1:7)
  • Children of God have been cleansed “from all sin” (1:7, 9)
  • Children of God “confess” sin (1:9)
  • Children of God have “an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous” (2:1)
  • Children of God “keep His commandments” (2:3-5)
  • Children of God love their brothers (2:9-10)
  • Children of God abide in the light (2:10)
  • Children of God know the Father (2:13)
  • Children of God “have overcome the wicked one” (2:13)
  • Children of God hate the world (2:15-17)
  • Children of God do not abandon the faith (2:19)
  • Children of God have “an anointing from the Holy One” (2:20, 27)
  • Children of God know the truth (2:21)
  • Children of God confess the Son (2:22-25)
  • Children of God “practices righteousness” (2:29)
  • Children of God “lay down [their] lives for the brethren” (3:16-19)
  • Children of God “do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits, whether they are of God” (4:1-3)
  • Children of God overcome “the world” (5:4-5)

If the people you follow after are not marked by these characteristics, you should not be following them. Paul said to the Corinthians in 1 Corinthians 11:1, "Be imitators of me, just as I also am of Christ" (emphasis added). Make sure who you follow is truly a child of God who is an imitator of Christ, otherwise turn away from them. Romans 16:18 says, "For such men are slaves, not of our Lord Jesus Christ but of their own appetites; and by their smooth and flattering speech they deceive the hearts of the unsuspecting."

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