S55P5 – Wisdom from Philippi – follow the leader(s)

Phil. 3:17-21

Brothers, join in imitating me, and keep your eyes on those who walk according to the example you have in us. For many, of whom I have often told you and now tell you even with tears, walk as enemies of the cross of Christ. Their end is destruction, their god is their belly, and they glory in their shame, with minds set on earthly things. But our citizenship is in heaven, and from it we await a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, who will transform our lowly body to be like his glorious body, by the power that enables him even to subject all things to himself.

She hated having to go there, but it was a requirement of that class and that era.  The idea of finishing school made it sound like she somehow would be incomplete without it.  There, she learned what society expected of a young lady.  In that world, it seemed like table manners and vacation destinations mattered much more than people.  As she began to socialize with her peers, she realized they were taught only a superficial version of what being a lady means.  At heart, she was surrounded not by ladies but by wolves and vipers.  She would learn what it meant to be a lady not from formal teaching and societal norms but from emulating her grandmother and her mother, women who she watched treat others with kindness and respect.

There are two great movements in the world right now. They are the same two movements that have existed since the fall of mankind.  The first is the movement of people away from God as they respond to the Spirit with repulsion and draw closer to themselves.  The second is the movement of people toward God as they are drawn by him and respond by drawing closer to him.  The first group has their home and citizenship in this world, which will not last.  The second group has their home and citizenship in God’s kingdom, and that will endure.  We will follow someone’s lead in this life, and we must make sure we have the discernment to choose the right leaders.  Those are the people who are truly waiting for the return of Christ and live their lives in that manner. When we hold up their lives to the light of God’s word, we can see the truth in how they live.

There is a reason why God did not simply give us his written word without the personal example of Jesus Christ living out that word: there is great value in seeing God’s word live through someone.  Knowledge is great, but its proper application is the goal.  We needed an example of what a perfectly holy life looks like.  We also need examples of what it looks like to live a godly life in this world today, and there is a lot of discipleship that happens without our realizing it. The same way we search for brothers and sisters to emulate, others will look to us without our knowing.  We should strive not only to find godly leaders who are fitting to follow, but also to be the example for others.  Father, give us discernment to know who we should look to for leadership, and raise that good leadership within us as well.