We are to turn to God, not people.
Romans 12:2 Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.
2 Peter 3:17 Therefore, dear friends, since you have been forewarned, be on your guard so that you may not be carried away by the error of the lawless and fall from your secure position.
Obeying God is often moving against the world. Instead of following what other people do we are called to look to 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. God insists we do it. Many will blindly follow others out of conformity 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.
Christ and his disciples lived in non-compliance to the world, Pharisees, temple activities, traditions, and other cultural practices. These days non-compliance is often looked down upon, but if we are truly relying upon God's will we will be a demonstration to others of a better way. Our truth will be more, our love will be more, our sincerity will be more, our compassion will be deeper. We will avoid condoning misbehavior. We will gently rebuke others in love. Even if it creates tension.
Following God is following truth, not hypocrisy
2 Corinthians 13:8 For we cannot do anything against the truth, but only for the truth.
Galatians 2:5 We did not give in to them for a moment, so that the truth of the gospel might be preserved for you.
2 Thessalonians 2:12 and so that all will be condemned who have not believed the truth but have delighted in wickedness.
1 Timothy 3:9 They must keep hold of the deep truths of the faith with a clear conscience.
1 Timothy 4:3 They forbid people to marry and order them to abstain from certain foods, which God created to be received with thanksgiving by those who believe and who know the truth.
2 Timothy 2:15 Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth.
2 Timothy 2:25 Opponents must be gently instructed, in the hope that God will grant them repentance leading them to a knowledge of the truth,
2 Timothy 4:4 They will turn their ears away from the truth and turn aside to myths.
James 5:19 My brothers and sisters, if one of you should wander from the truth and someone should bring that person back,
Titus 1:13-15 13 This saying is true. Therefore rebuke them sharply, so that they will be sound in the faith 14 and will pay no attention to Jewish myths or to the merely human commands of those who reject the truth. 15 To the pure, all things are pure, but to those who are corrupted and do not believe, nothing is pure. In fact, both their minds and consciences are corrupted.
2 Peter 2:2 Many will follow their depraved conduct and will bring the way of truth into disrepute.
1 John 1:6 If we claim to have fellowship with him and yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not live out the truth.
1 John 1:8 If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us.
1 John 2:4 Whoever says, “I know him,” but does not do what he commands is a liar, and the truth is not in that person.
1 John 3:18-19 Dear children, let us not love with words or speech but with actions and in truth. This is how we know that we belong to the truth and how we set our hearts at rest in his presence:
1 John 4:6 We are from God, and whoever knows God listens to us; but whoever is not from God does not listen to us. This is how we recognize the Spirit of truth and the spirit of falsehood.
2 John 1:2 because of the truth, which lives in us and will be with us forever:
3 John 1:4 I have no greater joy than to hear that my children are walking in the truth.
We ought to ask ourselves why we do the things that we do. Are we following God or someone else? Is our leader in the church practicing what he preaches? God expects us to be cautious and intelligent about our choices, especially who we listen to and follow. If we are not asking these simple questions then we are not be very careful about how we live our life. 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 are to resist that leadership.
Questions to think about:
When was the last time we resisted leadership or why haven't we?
How did others respond when we resisted or how do we justify following others when our hearts tell us different?
Do we consider what God wants us to do over what leadership wants us to do?
How can we lovingly resist leadership when necessary?
Exodus 23: 2 “Do not follow the crowd in doing wrong. When you give testimony in a lawsuit, do not pervert justice by siding with the crowd"
Jeremiah 15:19 Therefore this is what the Lord says: “If you repent, I will restore you that you may serve me; if you utter worthy, not worthless, words, you will be my spokesman. Let this people turn to you, but you must not turn to them.
Psalm 41:3 The Lord sustains them on their sickbed and restores them from their bed of illness.
2 Corinthians 13:11 Finally, brothers and sisters, rejoice! Strive for full restoration, encourage one another, be of one mind, live in peace. And the God of love and peace will be with you.
1 Peter 5:10 And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast.
Galatians 6:1 Brothers and sisters, if someone is caught in a sin, you who live by the Spirit should restore that person gently. But watch yourselves, or you also may be tempted.
Matthew 9:13 But go and learn what this means: ‘I desire mercy, not sacrifice.’ For I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners.”
Matthew 12:7 If you had known what these words mean, ‘I desire mercy, not sacrifice,’ you would not have condemned the innocent.
“What can I do with you, Ephraim?
What can I do with you, Judah?
Your love is like the morning mist,
like the early dew that disappears.
5 Therefore I cut you in pieces with my prophets,
I killed you with the words of my mouth—
then my judgments go forth like the sun.[a]
6 For I desire mercy, not sacrifice,
and acknowledgment of God rather than burnt offerings.
Isaiah 6:10 Make the heart of this people calloused; make their ears dull and close their eyes. Otherwise they might see with their eyes, hear with their ears, understand with their hearts, and turn and be healed.”
Matthew 13:15 For this people’s heart has become calloused; they hardly hear with their ears, and they have closed their eyes. Otherwise they might see with their eyes, hear with their ears, understand with their hearts and turn, and I would heal them.’
John 12:40 “He has blinded their eyes and hardened their hearts, so they can neither see with their eyes, nor understand with their hearts, nor turn—and I would heal them.”
Acts 28:27 For this people’s heart has become calloused; they hardly hear with their ears, and they have closed their eyes. Otherwise they might see with their eyes, hear with their ears, understand with their hearts and turn, and I would heal them.’
1 Peter 1:22 Now that you have purified yourselves by obeying the truth so that you have sincere love for each other, love one another deeply, from the heart. 23 For you have been born again, not of perishable seed, but of imperishable, through the living and enduring word of God. 24 For, “All people are like grass, and all their glory is like the flowers of the field; the grass withers and the flowers fall, 25 but the word of the Lord endures forever.” And this is the word that was preached to you.
Ezekiel 11:12 And you will know that I am the Lord, for you have not followed my decrees or kept my laws but have conformed to the standards of the nations around you.”
2 Corinthians 7:1 “Let us purify ourselves from everything that contaminates body and spirit, perfecting holiness out of reverence for God.”
Luke 21:34 “Be careful, or your hearts will be weighed down with dissipation, drunkenness and the anxieties of life, and that day will close on you like a trap.”
2 Corinthians 10:5 “We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ. And we will be ready to punish every act of disobedience, once your obedience is complete.”
Galatians 6:3-5 “If anyone thinks he is something when he is nothing, he deceives himself. Each one should test his own actions. Then he can take pride in himself, without comparing himself to somebody else, for each one should carry his own load.”
Luke 12:22-23 “Then Jesus said to his disciples: ‘Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat; or about your body, what you will wear. Life is more than food, and the body more than clothes.”
Luke 12:33-34 “Sell your possessions and give to the poor. Provide purses for yourselves that will not wear out, a treasure in heaven that will not be exhausted, where no thief comes near and no moth destroys. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”
Luke 14:11 “For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted.”
Luke 16:13-14 “No servant can serve two masters. Either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and Money.’ The Pharisees, who loved money, heard all this and were sneering at Jesus. He said to them, ‘You are the ones who justify yourselves in the eyes of men, but God knows your hearts. What is highly valued among men is detestable in God’s sight.”
Matthew 12:25 “Jesus knew their thoughts and said to them, “every kingdom divided against itself will be ruined, and every city or household divided against itself will not stand.
Matthew 15:19 “For out of the heart come evil thoughts, murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false testimony, slander. These are what make a man ‘unclean’; but eating with unwashed hands does not make him ‘unclean.’”
1 Timothy 5:22 “Do not be hasty in the laying on of hands, and do not share in the sins of others keep yourself pure.”
1 Peter 1:22 Now that you have purified yourselves by obeying the truth so that you have sincere love for each other, love one another deeply, from the heart.