1 Corinthians 11:1
“Be ye followers of me, even as I also am of Christ.”
One of the many childhood characteristics that you see in children is how they tend to mimic or imitate people. At times, it can be annoying when a child doesn’t know when to stop, but it is also very revealing how much people are watching what you are doing.
Paul said in the verse above to be “followers of me.” This statement sure seems to contradict the Pharisees who say you should never follow a man. Yes, Paul made it clear that they were to follow him as he followed Christ; nevertheless, he did tell these believers to follow him. There are several observations I would like to point out to you about this important phrase of being a follower of men.
First, you are following somebody. I don’t care who the person is; they are following someone. Nobody is a self-made individual, but we are all a combination of several individuals we choose to follow. Those who say that we should not follow a man are following someone. Someone gave them the mindset that we should only follow Christ because the verse above is clear that we are also to follow men.
Second, all the examples you have to follow are human. In chapter 10, God says that He wrote these things for our examples. What are these things? These things are the stories of people who either did right or wrong. God gives them to us for an example to follow or not to follow. People write examples through their life actions. The only example we have to follow Christ is through the examples of believers who followed other believers who have followed Christ. You will never know how to be a follower of Christ unless you follow or imitate the followers of Christ. My friend, the only way you can become a disciple of Christ is by following the disciples of Christ. Don’t run from the reality that our examples of how to be a true disciple of Christ come from humans who are disciples of Christ.
Third, follow your human examples only in the areas where they follow Christ. The key to following human examples is where Paul says to follow him as he followed Christ. There are many things I do that I learned from others. For instance, I read God’s Word early in the morning because of the example my dad gave me as I saw him reading God’s Word. I go soul winning in the way that I have learned from others who are soul winners. The Scriptures tell you what to do, but human examples show you how to follow Christ. Don’t fight following the human example as long as that human example gives you a picture of how to follow Christ.
Fourth, don’t imitate the weak areas of the one you are following. One of the great dangers of following men is that we tend to follow their weaknesses, which we should not do. For instance, these believers were told to follow Paul, but they were not to follow his example of where he took the Jewish vow, which was against God’s Word. As long as the person you follow doesn’t contradict God’s Word, there is nothing wrong in following them.
Fifth, when the followed stops following Christ, the follower needs to stop following the followed. My greatest warning to you is that when the one you follow goes into sin, don’t follow their sinful ways. The examples of good that they gave you are still good, but stop following them when they choose to compromise or leave the Christian way.