Follow Jesus First
Who are your favorite celebrities? Do you follow them on social media or in the news? Entertainers, politicians, authors, even pastors find themselves on public pedestals, set apart from the rest of us. The public treats them differently because they’ve done something to earn our attention or admiration.
Did you realize that believers in Jesus are also set apart? The Bible’s word for it is “saint,” or “holy ones.” The Apostle Paul opens his letter to the church in Corinth by describing them as “saints,” or “those sanctified in Christ Jesus and called to be holy” (1:2). The word holy simply means set apart, different, or other-than. Paul uses it twelve times in the book of 1 Corinthians.
When the word is applied in relation to God, it means that he is completely different in character and essence from his creation. He’s perfect and almighty—we’re not. Yet, as Paul uses it here, holy also describes God’s people in that we are to resemble him and be different from the world.
Because we are holy, set apart for and by God, we must look like it. The whole point of Paul’s letter was to remind the Corinthians that their identity as the body of Christ must influence their behavior and attitudes. They were supposed to live differently, in a way that resembled Christ instead of their culture.
Unity, for instance. Paul expected the Corinthians to come together in their worship of Christ. But they were too busy arguing over their celebrity teachers.
“I follow Paul.”
“Well, Apollos is my teacher!”
“I follow Cephas!”
Sound familiar? Too often, the church today acts like the church in Corinth, dividing into factions following favorite leaders. And every time, those leaders disappoint us. Why? Because they are not able to sustain perfection. None of them is Jesus.
Paul—one of those revered leaders—rejects that celebrity mentality, reminding the Corinthians that all the teachers were merely God’s fellow workers (3:9) and pointing them to Christ himself. As “set apart ones,” we should not glorify the all-too-human stars of our day. Rather, let’s live in our identity as God’s holy ones, mimicking Jesus, our humble Savior. No fallible human leader is worth following so far that we become divided in our allegiance. Let’s keep our Savior front and center.
This reading plan was written by the staff at RightNow Media, and the accompanying video teaching was produced in partnership between Jennie Allen and RightNow Media.