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Imitating Leaders


Ragamuffin_John

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Remember your leaders, who spoke the word of God to you. Carefully consider the outcome of their way of life and imitate their faith. Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever (Hebrews 13:7-8 ~ EHV - bold is mine)

There are many revealing and truth-stamped Scriptures for us to learn from and follow. Verses which follow each other consecutively are particularly cementing in their emphases. Concerning the Scripture passage above, the bolded part is by far and away the most well-known, embraced, and practiced portion. The bolded can certainly stand alone for edification and teaching about the power and nature of God. It is that powerful. Yet and still, there is so much more about verse 8 to consider when it is read in its full context, that is, looked at in relation to the previous verse 7.

The early Church placed a lot of emphasis on the importance of local church members modelling their lifestyles and piety based on the example set by their leaders. Clearly, this has to do with considering the lives and ministry of pastors, elders, deacons, and so on. Now, we need to ask ourselves, "How is this done?" Certainly, no modelling can be accomplished unless the object, the person of our scrutiny, is in our midst. And so, the importance of fellowship--in the church building and outside of it. Leaders need our support, and this is most highly accomplished when we surround them with our company, our attention, when we apply the principles that they teach us from the Word of God, and through our sincere adaptation of the Godly virtues displayed by our leaders.

The primary blessing that followers get from imitating leaders, who themselves are obedient servants of Christ, is that the witness of leaders proves the faithfulness of God: it has in the past (yesterday), it will prove God's faithfulness now (today), and this God-given tool will always be true, just as true as God is eternal (forever).

We need to daily pray for our leaders. We should get to know them so that their faith in Christ and reflection of His goodness can be imitated as well. Getting to know them is probably easier in cultures where respect for elders has been maintained as a cultural norm. Nevertheless, the Church itself is a new society that was created at Pentecost.* The mandate in the NT to respect church leaders, along with the energizing power of the Holy Spirit, gives the Church actual and enticing possibilities for living out the Faith.

Following our leaders is not an abandonment or diluting of our focus on the one God and one mediator between God and man, the man Christ Jesus (1 Timothy 2:5). Spirit-led imitation of the faith demonstrated by our leaders is a failsafe in itself, for as the Apostle Paul wrote, Be imitators of me, just as I am of Christ (EHV ~ 1 Corinthians 11:1)
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* But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, the people who are God’s own possession, so that you may proclaim the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light (EHV ~ 1 Peter 2:9)
Scripture quotations marked EHV are from the Holy Bible, Evangelical Heritage Version® (EHV®) © 2019 Wartburg Project, Inc. All rights reserved. Used by permission.

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