As a general rule, few people enjoy following someone else. We have all sorts of pithy sayings to back that up. It is amazing that anyone wants to “play second fiddle” considering the way that term is passed around. But not everyone can be “the lead dog.” If there is to be any successful effort in which more than one person participates, someone is going to have to take the lead, which also implies that everyone else must be willing to follow.
But being a good follower is more difficult than some might think. You must trust your leader enough to put your training in his hands and go where he leads you, despite possible conflict and danger.
Christians have the ultimate leader in Jesus Christ. Paul said, “Be ye followers of me, even as I also am of Christ” (1 Cor. 11:1). The only One that deserves a true “following” in religion is Jesus Christ — not the preacher, not your parents, not even the apostle Paul should have a following. Learning to follow as a Christian means learning to follow Christ: to accept His leadership, to obey His precepts, and to imitate His example. It is one thing to take the initial steps toward Christ to become a Christian, but following Him means that we are willing to go as far as He requires (Mt. 16:24).
A good follower does not complain, make excuses, or lag behind; a good follower follows. But a good follower also knows whom to follow (Mt. 15:14). Peter wrote, “For even hereunto were ye called: because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that ye should follow his steps” (1 Pet. 2:21). Since we do not know the proper way to go in life (Prov. 16:25) and Christ does (Jn. 14:6), we have every reason to follow Him. When we understand that heaven is where we want to go and admit that we do not know how to get there, then it makes perfect sense to commit ourselves to following the One who has already made that journey (Col. 3:1-2).
Kevin W. Rhodes