“For it has been reported to me by Chloe’s people that there is quarreling among you, my brothers. What I mean is that each one of you says, “I follow Paul,” or “I follow Apollos,” or “I follow Cephas,” or “I follow Christ.” Is Christ divided? Was Paul crucified for you? Or were you baptized in the name of Paul? I thank God that I baptized none of you except Crispus and Gaius, so that no one may say that you were baptized in my name.”
-1 Corinthians 1:11-15
Paul was the ultimate missionary because it was not about him. It was about Jesus. I was reminded yesterday, in reading these verses, that we are far too prone to look at someone besides Jesus for our spiritual nourishment. Whether it is a popular author, preacher, family member, or friend, they are inadequate. I will get to this in a later post in the Est. 33AD series, but celebrity Christianity is wreaking havoc on the church. No matter the giftings of your pastor or friend, they cannot cultivate a deep longing for Jesus within you. Paul knew it and he warned the Corinthians to be mindful of it. Since that time, Christians have struggled to avoid the pitfalls of entirely entrusting others with their spiritual life and in doing so they begin to follow a mortal, prideful, wretched sinner. Ultimately, they follow someone not worth following.
Take Paul’s advice. Don’t follow a pastor who has a popular podcast, your friend who reads a lot, or someone who likes to hear themselves talk. Follow Jesus. I am not saying that podcasts are bad, books are evil, or those who like to teach don’t have the best of intentions (I listen to podcasts, own more books than I can read, and love to teach the Bible). I am saying, keep things in perspective. Use books, recorded sermons, and Bible studies to your advantage. Allow them to help you follow Jesus more fully, passionately, and whole heartedly. Paul was great. We don’t follow Him. We follow the One he followed. Jesus.