“Remember your leaders. They taught God’s message to you. Remember how they lived and died, and copy their faith. 8 Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever. 9 Don’t let all kinds of strange teachings lead you into the wrong way. Depend only on God’s grace for spiritual strength, not on rules about foods. Obeying those rules doesn’t help anyone.” Hebrews 13: 7-9
Copy their faith. That was the line that jumped out at me as I read the above passage. The writer of Hebrews was writing to Christians at a time when all sorts of teachings and ideas were prevalent. Christianity had been diluted with all sorts of ideologies and belief systems and political views and the body of Christ divided into factions. Sounds like 21st century Christianity doesn’t it?
Through the ideological chaos, we are encouraged, actually instructed to copy the faith of our spiritual leaders. And because the writer knows that some of the leaders are not immune to wrong influences and are in fact propagating some of these erroneous teaching, he/she says very clearly; “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today and forever”. Ultimately telling us that JESUS is our most certain example; he is our standard in faith, love and everything else.
In 1 Corinthians 11:1 Paul said this to the Corinthian church; “Follow my example, just as I follow the example of Christ”. Because of the example of Christ he follows, he was confident to write this to the Philippian church: “Brothers and sisters, join together in following my example. Also, learn by watching those who are living the way we showed you.” (Philippians 3:17)
What all this tells me is that the example of leadership and service that we follow is very important. The teachings we follow can draw us closer to God or can derail us if we are not careful. Who is your mentor?
We also have to understand that men are fallible. Like us, Christian leaders are human and are subject to trials, temptations and can err just like us. They are on a journey of faith and purpose and perfection just like us. I believe that’s why the writer of Hebrews said in Hebrews 13: 7 to “…..copy their FAITH”.
Not copy their lifestyles, their speaking styles, their family styles or even their hairstyles. Copy their FAITH!
Faith in Christ is what is most important. That is what binds us together as the body of christ; our common faith in his divinity as God’s son and his life, death and resurrection for us to restore us all to the father.
When you follow the example of a leader, what you follow should be his or her faith in Christ and all teachings must come from that and point to that. Any other traditions or rules that do not come from that, is best avoided.
At the end of it all, JESUS IS THE SAME, YESTERDAY, TODAY AND FOREVER. All teachings must be consistent with the nature and words of our Lord. So let’s always go back to Jesus. Get close to him through the Holy spirit in the place of prayer and studying his words and let what he says to you be the final say.