III John 11 “Dear friend, do not imitate what is evil but what is good. Anyone who does what is good is from God. Anyone who does what is evil has not seen God.”
I can hear my mother saying it as if it were yesterday, in response to my teen-aged cry that everybody else is doing it! Her response? If everyone else were to jump off a cliff, would you follow them?
Well, maybe. Sometimes, we follow people just because we think we’re supposed to, and we don’t stop and ask ourselves if they are right or not. But John warned his readers not to follow a leader who isn’t worth following.
John’s still talking about Diotrephes (see yesterday’s study). Sometimes, if someone has a leadership position in the church, we assume we must follow them. But we must always use the wisdom God gives freely to those who ask! Whether we are observing a pastor, an elder, or a Sunday School teacher, we must watch them carefully. Are their actions loving and kind? Do they seek to show love and hospitality? Do they seek to build others up? Or do they sneak around, whispering gossip and slander, seeking to belittle those who hold more power than they do?
Many of our churches are being destroyed because Christians blindly follow someone who is leading them off a cliff! We must love our leaders and pray for them. But if they are not following a path of godliness, righteousness and love, then we must not follow them!
Dear Father, Please help me to imitate what is good, and not what is evil.