On numerous occasions I have heard the words, ‘I follow my man or woman of God as they follow Christ.’ The folly of getting this out of context is staggering.
Charlatans have capitalised on this folly and cement this false teaching citing the Apostle Paul who said in 1 Corinthians 11:1
“Be ye followers of me, even as I also am of Christ.”
But what was Paul saying exactly? Are we to be followers of men of God or are we to be followers of Christ as Paul was.
Perhaps a closer look at the words and the context in which they are used will help elucidate this.
Dictionary authority gives the definition of the word follow thusly:
go or come after (a person or thing proceeding ahead); move or travel behind.
Paul wanted people to follow Christ
Therefore the word follow has more that one definition depending on the context in which it is used.
What we know for sure is that Paul was a follower of Jesus Christ and he did the best he could to emulate the master. Paul tried best he could to persuade others to follow Jesus Christ. Thus, he preached the gospel of Christ with an express intent to get those converted to Christ to emulate his ways by following the order of Christ.
So in saying “Be ye followers of me, even as I also am of Christ.” Paul was simply saying emulate me in following Christ.
Dictionary authority spells out the definition of emulate as such, it puts it this way: match or surpass (a person or achievement), typically by imitation.
Other synonyms of emulate include imitate, copy, reproduce, mimic, mirror, echo, follow, model oneself on, take as a model, take as an example; More match, equal, parallel, be the equal of, be on a par with, be in the same league as, come near to, come close to, approximate; compete with, contend with, rival, vie with, surpass.
An informal way to view this would be to take a leaf out of someone’s book. Thus, “We must try to emulate Paul’s glowing example to follow Jesus Christ.”
Jesus Christ is the perfect example
A picture of Christ example is in Philippians 2:1-11
If you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, if any comfort from his love, if any fellowship with the Spirit, if any tenderness and compassion, then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and purpose. Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves. Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others.
Many who masquerade as prophets or ‘man of God’ in our day have twisted the true meaning of what Paul was saying and they present themselves as equivalent to Christ. They position themselves as the only persons able to directly follow Christ and they subtly teach their congregations to follow them instead of Christ. They have sneakily shifted focus from the real redeemer to themselves. Nowadays you hear people saying ‘my man of God saved me.’ ‘If it was not for my man of God’s grace and covering I would be dead.’
The only covering is through Jesus Christ
Indeed, how many times have you heard those who go to these Charlatan led churches vowing that they will follow their man or woman of God no matter what?
What really is their understanding of Paul’s statement? Have they truly understood the context in which Paul meant it. Or have they been misled by false teachers who seek to be equated with Jesus Christ?
We are to follow Jesus Christ, he is after all the perfect example. Indeed, we will have others amongst us who inspire us in our efforts to follow Christ. And that is what Paul was. We will have leaders who are good examples of how to follow Christ. There is no harm in emulating them as they follow Jesus Christ. However, our eyes should never be removed from focusing on the ultimate exemplar who remains Jesus Christ.
Then let us in his footsteps tread
I could not think of a better way to put this across but share these beautiful lyrics to a hymn ‘Come follow me’ penned by John Nicholson, 1839-1909
“Come, follow me,” the Savior said.
Then let us in his footsteps tread,
For thus alone can we be one
With God’s own loved, begotten Son.
“Come, follow me,” a simple phrase,
Yet truth’s sublime, effulgent rays
Are in these simple words combined
To urge, inspire the human mind.
Is it enough alone to know
That we must follow him below,
While trav’ling thru this vale of tears?
No, this extends to holier spheres.
Not only shall we emulate
His course while in this earthly state,
But when we’re freed from present cares,
If with our Lord we would be heirs.
We must the onward path pursue
As wider fields expand to view,
And follow him unceasingly,
Whate’er our lot or sphere may be.
For thrones, dominions, kingdoms, pow’rs,
And glory great and bliss are ours,
If we, throughout eternity,
Obey his words, “Come, follow me.”
Jesus Christ says come follow me
As a Christian your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus:
Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient to death— even death on a cross!
Therefore God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. (This is the Jesus Christ I follow).
The apostle proceeds in exhortations to Christian duties. He presses them largely to like-mindedness and lowly mindedness, in conformity to the example of the Lord Jesus, the great pattern of humility and love.
If you claim to follow your man or woman of God no matter what. Then sorry you are not a but a follower after the order of whatever the the name of your man or woman of God is.