We are to turn to God, not people.
Psalm 118:8 It is better to take refuge in Yahweh, than to put confidence in man. WEB
Proverbs 29:25 The fear of man proves to be a snare, but whoever puts his trust in Yahweh is kept safe. WEB
Jeremiah 17:5 Yahweh says: Cursed is the man who trusts in man, and makes flesh his arm, and whose heart departs from Yahweh. WEB
Romans 12:2 2 Don’t be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what is the good, well-pleasing, and perfect will of God. WEB
2 Peter 3:17 17 You therefore, beloved, knowing these things beforehand, beware, lest being carried away with the error of the wicked, you fall from your own steadfastness. WEB
Many of us have learned to trust governing bodies to shape our mind, heart, and soul/life; government, school, friends, family, and church. Government establishes and credentials teachers, therapists, doctors, etc. When we want to learn, we attend a credentialed institution, and when we hurt, we seek help from another credentialed source. This may be following God and it might not. Many of us have not learned to listen to the whispers from the Holy Spirit within us for guidance, teaching, and counsel which God has approved and provided. We have become quick to listen to and obey our society and slow to discern God's interests over the worlds.
Obeying God involves moving more in God's ways which takes time to develop hence the terms persevere and endure. Instead of following what other people do, we are called to seek God for the right action. The truth, although it may disagree with others and our own insticts, is still the truth. Staying with the truth can be quite controversial when it is different from what everyone else seems to be doing. God insists we do God's will. Many of us will blindly follow others out of conformity, comfort, and fear of confrontation into sin and spiritual emptiness.
Here is a link to learn more about our own limitations https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Defence_mechanisms Psychology is the study of the brain God gave us to use. A lot has been learned about this research. Test it with the bible - not what people say. We are not saved by following any preacher or teacher except what has been approved by the bible and spirit.
2 Corinthians 1:9 Yes, we ourselves have had the sentence of death within ourselves, that we should not trust in ourselves, but in God who raises the dead,
Christ and his disciples lived in non-compliance to the world, Pharisees, temple activities, traditions, and other cultural practices. Non-compliance is often looked down upon, but if we are truly relying upon God's will we will be a demonstration to of God's will from our hearts to others. We will increase in truth, love, sincerity, patience, and compassion. We will avoid condoning misbehavior with sarcasm and put downs. We will gently rebuke others in sincere love, even if it feels awkward. We will realize that being 'awkward' or 'weird' around others as we align more correctly with God is to grow spiritually. Our ways can become convicting to others and we must not be embarrassed or ashamed of it. If we are patient, gentle, and sincere in trying to help others grow in truth, justice, mercy, patience, forgiveness, and love then any discomfort is discomfort for God.
Following God is following truth, not hypocrisy
2 Corinthians 13:8 For we can do nothing against the truth, but for the truth. WEB
Galatians 2:5 to whom we gave no place in the way of subjection, not for an hour, that the truth of the Good News might continue with you. WEB
2 Thessalonians 2:12 that they all might be judged who didn’t believe the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness. WEB
1 Timothy 3:9 holding the mystery of the faith in a pure conscience. WEB
1 Timothy 4:3 forbidding marriage and commanding to abstain from foods which God created to be received with thanksgiving by those who believe and know the truth. WEB
2 Timothy 2:15 Give diligence to present yourself approved by God, a workman who doesn’t need to be ashamed, properly handling the Word of Truth. WEB
2 Timothy 2:25 in gentleness correcting those who oppose him: perhaps God may give them repentance leading to a full knowledge of the truth, WEB
2 Timothy 4:4 and will turn away their ears from the truth, and turn aside to fables. WEB
James 5:19 Brothers, if any among you wanders from the truth and someone turns him back, 20 let him know that he who turns a sinner from the error of his way will save a soul from death and will cover a multitude of sins. WEB
Titus 1:13-15 This testimony is true. For this cause, reprove them sharply, that they may be sound in the faith, 14 not paying attention to Jewish fables and commandments of men who turn away from the truth. 15 To the pure, all things are pure; but to those who are defiled and unbelieving, nothing is pure; but both their mind and their conscience are defiled. WEB
2 Peter 2:2 Many will follow their immoral ways, and as a result, the way of the truth will be maligned. WEB
1 John 1:6 If we say that we have fellowship with him and walk in the darkness, we lie, and don’t tell the truth. WEB
1 John 1:8 If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. WEB
1 John 2:4 One who says, “I know him,” and doesn’t keep his commandments, is a liar, and the truth isn’t in him. WEB
1 John 3:18-19 My little children, let’s not love in word only, or with the tongue only, but in deed and truth. 19 And by this we know that we are of the truth, and persuade our hearts before him, WEB
1 John 4:6 We are of God. He who knows God listens to us. He who is not of God doesn’t listen to us. By this we know the spirit of truth, and the spirit of error. WEB
2 John 1:2 for the truth’s sake, which remains in us, and it will be with us forever: WEB
3 John 1:4 I have no greater joy than this, to hear about my children walking in truth. WEB
When Jesus did God's work others said Jesus was evil.
Matthew 12:25 If Satan casts out Satan, he is divided against himself. How then will his kingdom stand? WEB
Anyone who is against sincere love and truth with compassion, patience, justice, and mercy is not of God. Yet we ought to speak to each other, listening to understand, and communicate our differences with forgiveness. We ought to always seek spiritual unity.
Yet if others will not listen or if we will not listen, then evaluation of the heart may be needed.
Matthew 15:19 For out of the heart come evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, sexual sins, thefts, false testimony, and blasphemies. WEB
Luke 21:34 So be careful, or your hearts will be loaded down with carousing, drunkenness, and cares of this life, and that day will come on you suddenly. WEB
Luke 12:22-23 He said to his disciples, “Therefore I tell you, don’t be anxious for your life, what you will eat, nor yet for your body, what you will wear. 23 Life is more than food, and the body is more than clothing. WEB
Our spiritual issues lie within us and not on the outside. It's never about our outward display, our words, how we dress, or where we work, but the inward condition of the heart and mind and all that it follows.
Humility is necessary to serve God
Luke 14:11 For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and whoever humbles himself will be exalted. WEB
In order to embrace and worship God we must first experience a humble state of mind.
Luke 16:13-15 No servant can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to one, and despise the other. You aren’t able to serve God and Mammon.”[c]
14 The Pharisees, who were lovers of money, also heard all these things, and they scoffed at him. 15 He said to them, “You are those who justify yourselves in the sight of men, but God knows your hearts. For that which is exalted among men is an abomination in the sight of God. WEB
Many read this next verse thinking worldly things and only understand a command to lose worldly goods. Try to leave out the first sentence and focus on the meaning and purpose of the rest of it.
Luke 12:33-34 Sell that which you have, and give gifts to the needy. Make for yourselves purses which don’t grow old, a treasure in the heavens that doesn’t fail, where no thief approaches, neither moth destroys. 34 For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also. WEB
We are to focus on God's spiritual goodness, righteousness, and grace. We ought to decrease our focus on money/material/prestige and increase our focus on applying God's character and affecting others and ourselves with it.
2 Corinthians 7:1 Having therefore these promises, beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all defilement of flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God. WEB
2 Corinthians 10:5 throwing down imaginations and every high thing that is exalted against the knowledge of God, and bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ; WEB
Galatians 6:3-5 For if a man thinks himself to be something when he is nothing, he deceives himself. 4 But let each man test his own work, and then he will take pride in himself and not in his neighbor. 5 For each man will bear his own burden. WEB
1 Timothy 5:22 Lay hands hastily on no one, neither be a participant in other men’s sins. Keep yourself pure WEB
1 Peter 1:22 Seeing you have purified your souls in your obedience to the truth through the Spirit in sincere brotherly affection, love one another from the heart fervently: WEB
Jeremiah 15:19 Therefore Yahweh says, If you return, then I will bring you again, that you may stand before me; and if you take out the precious from the vile, you shall be as my mouth: they shall return to you, but you shall not return to them. WEB
Psalm 41:3 Yahweh will sustain him on his sickbed, and restore him from his bed of illness. WEB
2 Corinthians 13:11 Finally, brothers, rejoice. Be perfected, be comforted, be of the same mind, live in peace, and the God of love and peace will be with you. WEB
1 Peter 5:10 But may the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after you have suffered a little while, perfect, establish, strengthen, and settle you. WEB
Galatians 6:1 Brothers, even if a man is caught in some fault, you who are spiritual must restore such a one in a spirit of gentleness; looking to yourself so that you also aren’t tempted. WEB
Matthew 9:13 But you go and learn what this means: ‘I desire mercy, and not sacrifice,’[a] for I came not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.” WEB
Matthew 12:7 But if you had known what this means, ‘I desire mercy, and not sacrifice,’[b] you would not have condemned the guiltless. WEB
“Ephraim, what shall I do to you?
Judah, what shall I do to you?
For your love is like a morning cloud,
and like the dew that disappears early.
5 Therefore I have cut them to pieces with the prophets;
I killed them with the words of my mouth.
Your judgments are like a flash of lightning.
6 For I desire mercy, and not sacrifice;
and the knowledge of God more than burnt offerings.
This next quote by Isaiah is used by Matthew, John, and in Acts.
Isaiah 6:10 Make the heart of this people fat.
Make their ears heavy, and shut their eyes;
lest they see with their eyes,
and hear with their ears,
and understand with their heart,
and turn again, and be healed.” WEB
Matthew 13:15 for this people’s heart has grown callous,
their ears are dull of hearing,
they have closed their eyes;
or else perhaps they might perceive with their eyes,
hear with their ears,
understand with their heart,
and would turn again;
and I would heal them WEB
John 12:40 “He has blinded their eyes and he hardened their heart,
lest they should see with their eyes,
and perceive with their heart,
and would turn,
and I would heal them. WEB
Acts 28:27 For this people’s heart has grown callous.
Their ears are dull of hearing.
Their eyes they have closed.
Lest they should see with their eyes,
hear with their ears,
understand with their heart,
and would turn again,
and I would heal them.’
1 Peter 1:22 Seeing you have purified your souls in your obedience to the truth through the Spirit in sincere brotherly affection, love one another from the heart fervently: 23 having been born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, through the word of God, which lives and remains forever. 24 For,
“All flesh is like grass,
and all of man’s glory like the flower in the grass.
The grass withers, and its flower falls;
25 but the Lord’s word endures forever.” WEB
According to this study 37% went along with the group knowing it was wrong.
People obey authority knowing what they are doing is wrong.
Romans 6:16 Do you not know that to whom you present yourselves slaves to obey, you are that one’s slaves whom you obey, whether of sinleading to death, or of obedience leading to righteousness? NKJV
Galatians 1:10 For am I now seeking the favor of men, or of God? Or am I striving to please men? For if I were still pleasing men, I wouldn’t be a servant of Christ. WEB
We ought to ask ourselves why we do the things we do. Are we following God or someone else? God expects us to be cautious and intelligent about our choices, especially who we listen to and follow. If we are not assessing, questioning, and evaluating, then we are not be very careful about how we live our lives. It is a simple fact that humans tend to follow other people and not think very well about why.
As followers of Christ and God we are to study God's ways to ensure we practice God's ways. We are to obey God and follow God's instructions. When someone leads us away from God's instructions we ought to see that our actions lead toward the greater good of God with peace, love, patience, justice, truth, mercy, and forgiveness.
Questions to think about:
Have we questioned leadership? If yes, what happened? If no, why not?
How did others respond when leadership gets questioned?
How do we feel following leaders we believe are wrong?
Do we consider what God wants us to do over what leadership wants us to do?
How do we feel when our decisions are questioned by others?
How would we want to be approached with correction?
How can we lovingly resist leadership when necessary?