Our daughter Danielle is currently home with us for a couple of weeks. On her way home she picked up her new puppy. The puppy is full of energy and Danielle is working on training her. With all of her energy we thought that she would be a great walker….NOT. Danielle got the puppy ready for a walk…she walked out the driveway and sat down (the puppy, not Danielle). Danielle would give a little tug on the leash and the puppy would respond with a step or two, she was done. However, instead of giving up we got our older dog, Jesse to walk with us. Once Jesse started to walk the puppy immediately started to follow him. She didn’t need any tugs, incentives or treats; she just picked herself up and started to walk along. Jesse was a good example for her to follow, an appropriate example for a puppy. Silly of us to expect a four legged creature to follow the example of a two legged one.
This brought two thoughts to my mind. 1. Who am I truly following? 2. Who is following me? Not questions to answer lightly. This week I have been giving it considerable thought.
Who am I following? Of course the expected answer would be God, which would be my first and most expected answer, the Sunday School response. But is it truly God that I follow first and foremost in my life? Paul encourages us in Ephesians 5:1 “Follow God’s example, therefore, as dearly loved children.” And again in Galatians 5:25 “Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit.”
However, I have to challenge my own heart…Do I follow the applause of others? Do I allow fear to tug me in other directions? Do I throw caution to the wind and follow in paths of my own making, selfish interests? Am I consumed with idleness? Do I hoard the blessings of God and follow greed? Or perhaps I strive for more as I am lead around by envy? So much to consider. While it is my desire to follow God, there are times I must confess that I have allowed other things to lead me. It is my daily prayer that I would follow the example of Christ, as we are encouraged throughout scripture.
Then I consider the second thought, who is following me? Such an overwhelming thought. I am to set an example for others to follow. I think again of Paul’s words in 1 Corinthians 11:1 “Follow my example, as I follow the example of Christ.” Early in my Christian walk I used to think that Paul was quite arrogant to pen such words. But Paul was confident in his walk with the Lord and he realized that people need an example to follow. While Christ is our ultimate example we need one with flesh and blood before us. In Paul’s life he set an example for the believers, it wasn’t perfect but yet he also showed us how to live with our imperfections. How to seek Christ and to be strengthened and upheld in Him.
Whether we feel up to the challenge or not the fact is that there are those who are following our example. Let us truly follow Christ so that we may set an example worthy of following.
I leave with you these two questions for consideration: Who are you following? Who is following you? Don’t answer too quickly; allow the questions to sink deep into your heart, allow yourself to be open before the Lord.
John 8:12 When Jesus spoke again to the people, he said, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”