Hebrews 13:7-9 (NIV)
Remember your leaders, who spoke the word of God to you. Consider the outcome of their way of life and imitate their faith. Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever. Do not be carried away by all kinds of strange teachings…
Following Jesus is a counter-cultural experience. It means we live according to His standards, not our own, not our culture’s. That sets us apart. Our values are different, our responses to life’s challenges are different. Living differently from the culture around us can be difficult and lonely.
Part of our growth and development in faith comes from godly leaders. This passage from Hebrews shows how this relationship should function.
(v. 7) Remember your leaders, who spoke the word of God to you. Consider the outcome of their way of life and imitate their faith.
This is no casual observation, but rather thoughtful and purposeful consideration of something we are able to observe. We are not watching to find fault, rather, to see the word of God applied. These are our spiritual mothers and fathers. We learn in the same way a child learns, by observations and imitation.
The writer of Hebrews is specific about which leaders to watch—“those who spoke the word of God to you.” Here’s why: Your favorite entertainer doesn’t care how your life turns out. The leaders responsible to disciple you do.
The leaders we are to watch are people with whom we are in relationship. We can see the way in which they live. They are showing the way and leading by example. What a blessing it is to have leaders who live as good examples, and who share their own struggles so we can learn.
The standard is in verse eight—Jesus himself. He never changes. And verse nine warns us not to be carried away with “strange teachings,” which is what culture will lead us to do. Even popular “Christian” culture can be faddish. Instead, considering and imitating a leader’s well-lived life over time, we can learn and establish a strong foundation. We need to do this, because others (especially our children) are following behind us.
~ Kay Helm