Follow Me

Follow the Leader or Simon Says? One of the clearest illustrations of the implications following Jesus is in the comparison of two classic childhood games. In the game “Follow the Leader” the objective is to do whatever the leader does. If you don’t do what the leader does (and you can imagine it can be pretty ridiculous) you are out. Successfully doing as the leader does results in you winning. “Simon Says” is different though, for both the ‘leader’ and ‘followers’. In this game, there is a “Simon” whose job it is to do any number of activities and instruct the game participants to do as he/she is doing and instructing. The twist is if he/she does not put the words, “Simon says…” before the instruction, to do that activity will get you eliminated from the game. The whole objective for “Simon” then becomes tricking the participants into doing what they aren’t actually supposed to do.

Here’s the point of this little foray into childhood games which age me as I share them, one is very much like followership, the other very much like fandom. Far too many Christians have turned their “discipleship” into a game of “Jesus Says” only instead of believing and doing everything Jesus really did say to believe and do, they condition Jesus’ actions and commands. Thus, even though Jesus said, “Love your neighbor as yourself,” they make it Jesus says, “If you like your neighbor and they aren’t too much of an annoyance or burden love them.” This is fandom at its finest. We’ve memorized the words of Jesus but see many of them as optional/conditional depending on if “Jesus says.” Contrastingly, we are as genuine followers called to “Follow the Leader.” Jesus said love your neighbor. He also modeled that love toward neighbor (ultimately in dying for them) so that we don’t have to wonder what it means. Our job isn’t to condition Jesus’ actions or commands so as to make our lives comfortable. Our work as followers is to ‘take up our cross and follow Him.’ This will be seen as “radical” by many respectable church folks. It will be considered foolish by the world. No matter. Our job is to follow.

Application Questions:

For personal reflection: In what area of my life have I embraced a “Jesus Says” mentality? How will I begin to “Follow the Leader” in this area?

For 9:30 Connect Preparation:

  • What has been a challenge to your ongoing commitment to Jesus?
  • What keeps you from deeper devotion to Jesus?
Share on FacebookShare on Google+Tweet about this on TwitterShare on LinkedIn