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Imitate Your Past Leaders

Remember those who led you, who spoke the word of God to you; and considering the result of their conduct, imitate their faith.
–Hebrews 13:7

Do you remember when everybody used to wear those bracelets that said “WWJD”–What would Jesus do? The idea was that if you were in a difficult situation, you would ask yourself, “What would Jesus do in this situation?”

In Hebrews 13:7, the writer said something similar: “Remember those who led you, who spoke the word of God to you; and considering the result of their conduct, imitate their faith.” In other words, we are to call to mind our past leaders. He was not saying, “Take a stroll down memory lane just for old times’ sake.” He was talking about remembering your past leaders so you can follow their example. When you get into a difficult spot, think about somebody who has led you in the past–a spiritual leader, a pastor, a staff member, an evangelist–and ask yourself, “What would he or she do?” And then imitate that person’s faith.

Now, you might say, “I thought we were to fix our eyes on Jesus and imitate Him.” Yes, we are to keep our eyes on Jesus, but we also need flesh-and-blood examples. And that is why Paul said in 1 Corinthians 11:1, “Be imitators of me, just as I also am of Christ.” We need leaders in our past we can look to and ask ourselves, “What would he or she do in this situation? What would he have said to me? What was his counsel to me when he was alive and teaching?”

Years ago, I remember going in to say goodnight to our older daughter, Julia. She was about ten at the time, and she was sitting up in bed reading a biography of Billy Graham. So I got to tell her about Billy Graham, and about the impact he had had on our family’s life. I told her the story about when my mother, for whom Julia is named, was pregnant with me, and she went to a crusade in Dallas. She was not a Christian, but under the preaching of Billy Graham, she became a Christian. She ended up joining First Baptist Dallas the same day that Billy Graham joined the church, where he was a member for fifty-four years. And I told her how my mom and my dad passed that faith on to me, and how Amy and I have passed it on to her. Now, as an adult, Julia and her husband are passing that faith on to their children. On and on it goes–all because of a man who, seventy years ago, made a great investment and passed on his faith to us and to so many others.

I hope in your own gallery of memories, there are past leaders who have made an impact upon you and your family that you can imitate. We are to respect our past leaders.


Today’s devotion is excerpted from “How To Treat Your Next Pastor” by Dr. Robert Jeffress, 2020.

Scripture quotations taken from the (NASB®) New American Standard Bible®, Copyright © 1960, 1971, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission. All rights reserved.


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