One of the greatest confidence builders in a life of obedience is to witness how God’s way of living works the best! The three commands in this verse are all based on the evident results of obedience.
First, believers are to “continually be remembering” their leaders, which means “to be mindful of,” that is, how their families, personal relationships, and the overall positive impact of their lives left a positive influence. If you respect their lives, then pay close attention to their instructions from God’s word as to how they lived out the principles of God’s word.
The word leader, or “one with authority over,” refers to anyone given the privilege of teaching the word. The discipline of studying Scripture to teach it obligates the leader’s submission to its precepts. The authority given to our leaders is proportionate to the level of transformation that God’s word has effected in their lives.
The second command is to “be reflecting on the outcome of their lives,” which means to “look at again and again” or “observe carefully” the effects of their specific applications of God’s word. Have they lived what they taught?
The third command is to “be continually imitating their faith.” The New Testament focuses as much on correct doctrine as on an obedient lifestyle. Paul wrote, “Join with others in following my example” (Phil 3:17). Paul lived to be an example in order to demonstrate the value of God’s commands.
Peter likewise demanded that they lead humbly and by example, “not lording it over those entrusted to [them], but being examples to the flock” (1 Pet 5:3). Their example is as much the basis of their authority as their role in the ministry. Followers willingly imitate a leader’s godly example as they listen to his words.
The power of a leader lies in the respect and integrity of his lifestyle, which others will want to imitate. This admiration can take years to acquire, and a leader must earn it by repeatedly proving that God’s way of living is best. Nothing is more valuable to a teacher than this respect. Are you willing to practice obedience for leadership?
“Thank You, Lord, for putting godly leaders in my path and my church. Their lives have been such an example of the application of Your word that I desire their kind of life. Help me live up to their examples.”