Follow the Leader

“Brethren, be followers together of me, and mark them which walk so as ye have us for an ensample. (For many walk, of whom I have told you often, and now tell you even weeping, that they are the enemies of the cross of Christ).” (Philippians 3:17-18)

Godly leaders are responsible for living exemplary lives so that those whom they teach will both follow and eventually become leaders of others. “Be ye followers of me, even as I also am of Christ,” Paul demanded of the Corinthian church (1 Corinthians 11:1). “In all things shewing thyself a pattern of good works,” he instructed Titus (Titus 2:7). But Paul was first a follower of the life example of Christ.

Today’s verse uses some unusual terms to both define the responsibility to follow and mark those walking after Paul’s lifestyle. Memos is Greek for “follow,” compounded with a prefix that means “together.” Our English word “mimic” comes from memos. We are expected to imitate the examples of those who lead godly lives, who themselves are committed to emulate the Lord Jesus.

Further, we are expected to “mark” those living after godly examples. The Greek word skopeo is the strongest word among several for identifying someone or something. It has the sense of intense observation. In the secular literature, it is sometimes used for a spy. God expects us to pay careful attention to those who “have the rule over [us]” (Hebrews 13:17).

And we are to watch out for those who may influence us for evil. There are “enemies” of the Lord Jesus. Those are sometimes among us, and we must “mark them which cause divisions and offences contrary to the doctrine which ye have learned; and avoid them” (Romans 16:17). May God give us the discernment to know the difference between “good and evil” (Hebrews 5:14). HMM III

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