Terry R Baughman is Lead Pastor for LifeChurch in Gilbert, AZ. See his complete bio at trbaughman.com
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Resolved to Follow
Your new beginning!
Terry R. Baughman
“Jesus said to them, ‘Follow Me, and I will make you become fishers of men.’ They immediately left their nets and followed Him” (Mark 1:17–18).
Jesus only asked for us to follow. His calling was simple and His commission was clear. Those who answer His calling and resolve to follow Him will find an inner strength to obey and the ability to become more than we ever imagined possible. Let us make the resolution to follow Christ above all things.
Among some, the idea of committed Christians seems to inspire visions of lofty leadership by confident people who never question their calling or waiver in faith. However, in reality all who become disciples are simply required to follow Him in spite of failures in their Christian disciplines and nagging questions of faith. God has not called us to leadership; He has called us to discipleship. Disciples merely follow the footsteps of their Lord while leaders chart a new course and mark the trail for those who come behind. While the idea of leadership sparks courage to aggressively pursue more independence and to display stalwart resolve in the face of every challenge, true leaders are simply vulnerable disciples seeking to find their way through life in pursuit of God’s calling, sometimes stumbling along, intent on hearing His voice.
Most would agree that the apostle Paul was a successful leader in the early church, but he was always careful to point others to Christ. His fear was that people would become his disciples rather than Christ-followers. He encouraged followers to only do those things that bring glory and honor to the Lord. Paul explained, “I am not seeking my own good but the good of many, so that they may be saved. Be ye followers of me, even as I also am of Christ” (1 Corinthians 10:33 –11:1 NIV). The implication was clear. Only follow me as I follow Christ. If he was no longer following Christ then none should persist in following Paul.
In another setting believers were boastfully identifying with their mentors, “One of you says, ‘I follow Paul’; another, ‘I follow Apollos’; another, ‘I follow Cephas’; still another, ‘I follow Christ’.” Paul said, “I thank God that I did not baptize any of you except Crispus and Gaius, so no one can say that you were baptized in my name” (1 Corinthians 1:12, 14–15 NIV).
It seems like a natural thing for people to glorify others who accomplish great feats or inspire others to positive attributes. People want a hero, a champion that they can brag on and someone after whom they can pattern their lives. True disciples are called to service and to glory only in the Cross of Christ. Paul concluded, “The message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God” (1 Corinthians 1:18 NIV).
Resist the temptation to relish in fame and accept the accolades of others who admire your Christian service. In the process of being a disciple we will find that there are those who choose to follow our example. Encourage them to continue in their discipleship, but to redirect their vision to the only one worthy of emulation; follow Jesus.
Commit to follow God and make a fresh start to become His disciple. Resolve to be a follower and you will become a servant leader.
“Behold, the former things have come to pass, and new things I declare; before they spring forth I tell you of them” (Isaiah 42:9 NKJV).