Sunday, April 22, 2012

Discipleship Series - Follow the Leader

Children love to play games. One of the all time favorites is “Follow the Leader” The child who is usually older or more adept is the leader and all the other children follow them and do exactly what they do, or they're out. Another favorite game is a form of follow the leader, called “Simon Says”

Where did this sense of following come from? I believe it is a quality created in us by God, as part of His homing device of His existence. We have an innate need for guidance and assurance as we grow. This sense is nurtured from birth and continues with us our entire lives. The Lord also set certain guidelines for parents. They must lovingly discipline their children and raise them in the fear [Reverence, Deep admiration, Awe] of the Lord.

In early childhood development, certain choices are made that determine the path in life that child will follow. We have many leaders through the course of our lives. Very few are our choice, from our parents, family members, and certain teachers. They provide information we need to make decisions between right and wrong behaviors, but they can't choose our friends.

Friends are a reflection of our inner thoughts and desires. Some friends provide comfort and acceptance, while others are outlets for experience. These are relative bonds and we choose to remain in the relationship or move on. Our choices of friendship styles change over the course of our lives.

The scriptures don't tell us much of Jesus childhood. We know that he was born in Bethlehem, lived in Egypt for a few years and grew up in Nazareth. His earthly parents followed God's guidelines for child rearing and were very faithful stewards of the gift they were given. Then the time came for His obscure life to become public.

Without a vast reputation Jesus entered the scene. He was known by many, but His credentials came from heaven. As the prophets foretold, the Son of God would be God (Isaiah 9:6-7). At Jesus' baptism, his identity was confirmed by the declaration of the prophet John the Baptist and a voice from heaven.(Matthew 3:11,13-17, Luke 3:21-22)

I hope you enjoy this excerpt from chapter 11.

Come a Response
Jesus taught by example, the disciples learned through what he did. He taught them the true meaning of scripture and what the Father expected of them. He told them about the Kingdom of Heaven and that they would experience first hand the power of God.
It had been 400 years since God had sent a prophet to the people of Israel, and their hearts were eager to hear a message. Their whole life existed around the Word of God through the Law of Moses. From childhood they were taught scriptures, having an idea of what God expected. 
Though the centuries had passed slowly, they kept an eye out for the promised savior. Many false Messiah’s had come deceiving for a short time, until John the Baptist appeared in the desert preaching repentance.
John’s words had power which pierced their hearts. People flocked from all over the countryside to hear him preach in the wilderness. They knew God was moving on their behalf, believing John’s words they began to repent receiving his baptism as a sign of repentance. 
John’s following grew and he had many disciples. He continued to remind the people that he was not the Messiah, but that he came to prepare the way for him (Matthew 3:11).
John’s ministry fulfilled the prophecy of Isaiah “Listen I hear someone shouting: Make a highway for the Lord through the wilderness. Make a straight and smooth road through the desert for our God” (Isaiah 40:3-5) and the Prophecy of Malachi “Look I am sending my messenger, and he will prepare the way before me. Then the Lord you are seeking will suddenly come to His Temple. The messenger of the covenant, whom you look for so eagerly, is surely coming, says the Lord Almighty” (Malachi 3:1).

We choose our friends, mates and leaders based on a series of developed criteria through experience and personal needs. Some friends are made for a lifetime and some for only a season. 

People are searching for the truth, whether they realize it or not. We find comfort in like-minded associates, but in our search for leadership, we sometimes base our loyalty on inaccurate data. 

Believing in Jesus' credentials is the first step, accepting them is yet another. Our choice of leadership will either lead us to life or death.

Next in Discipleship Series: Education – Choose wisely.

No comments: