Men love themselves, and this is evidenced by self-promotion. They spend a fortune on the latest fad in higher education and self-help development. Their diet of endless conferences, seminars, and on-line degrees suggests they are looking for short-cuts to the top (whatever or wherever that is!).
In a world of leaders and followers, the ambitious have only one focus: leadership. They know that without an army of followers, they have no business nor congregation. Fortunately for them, people are eager to part with their money in order to learn to transfer their own status from follower to leader. Yet, Jesus Himself taught, “And do not be called leaders; for One is your Leader, that is, Christ (Mt 23:10).”
The rich and famous have distinct advantages in this game because, by definition, a follower wants whatever a leader says he possesses or potentially can possess. Conference venues are never occupied, when the star-studded real estate sellers are middle of the pack producers. Leaders must produce, and their performance must be promoted by themselves and their followers, who want to be identified with their leader’s “success.” The result is pride. Pride is sin. This is why no leaders run around, saying, “It was not me, but I am grateful to the Lord Jesus Christ, who is my provider in everything.” You will never be a leader if you talk like that!
To promote the interests of Jesus Christ constrains one to the status of follower. It is the follower who sees the fallacy of human leadership. Leadership is a worldly idea, as it pertains to anyone other than our one Lord, who alone is our Leader (Mt 23:10). This is why Jesus taught that the greatest among you, will not be leader, but slave of Christ and servant of all (Mk 9:35; Eph 6:6).
Men will then attempt to ride the fence, by constructing concepts of “servant-leader.” This is an oxymoron. It is a perversion of what a slave of Christ is to do. He is to point people to the One and only Leader of Christ’s followers. Paul said this, “Follow me, as I follow Christ (1 Cor 11:1).” Note the emphasis from the apostle is followership, not leadership.
When a man of God lusts to be leader, then you will know the motive of his heart. You will know them by their ministries (Ezek 34). It is to usurp the position, power, and privileges of the true Leader. This is under the inspiration of Satan. It was this demonic spirit that convinced Adam, and, of course, Eve (Gen 3:5). They became usurpers just like Satan.
Christians are sheep (Ps 23; Jn 10; 1 Pet 5:1–5), and sheep are mean creatures when one asserts his or her superiority over others. When the Lord moves, it is the faithful follower who moves next. Others watch the example of the faithful followers, and they, too, will then follow. There is no leadership in this relationship, except the Spirit of the Lord who is guiding God’s people into all truth (Jn 16:13).
We serve by staying near to our Leader, our Shepherd. Our task as followers of followers is to conjoin ourselves to those who truly wish to follow Jesus. This may sound trite, but they who follow in Spirit and truth are smaller in number than it first appears. They are not aspiring leaders. Followers of followers must be discerning. There are many who are led astray by false doctrine and false practice. Every wind of doctrine blows them to and fro because they are following sinful men, who have the ambition to lead others.
The man to follow is the man who does one thing…he follows the Leader.
Spokane Valley, Washington
March 28, 2022