Who do you admire? At any point in our lives, there is usually someone we idealize and try to emulate in some way. When we were kids, it was natural for us to look up to someone, and to try to act like those we admire. Whether that is your parents, older sibling, musicians, sports figures, movie stars, teachers, coaches, or any number of people in our lives. As we get older, the list may change a bit over time, but may expand to include co-workers, pastors, politicians, media personalities, or even historical figures. Ask anyone which President they most admire, and it will most likely not be one who lived in their lifetime. It may be easier for us to idealize someone who lived 100 or 500 years ago, as their flaws are not as evident as someone who makes the news today, but they surely had them. At some point we realize that even our parents are not perfect, yet we still want to look up to them. Is it ok to look up to imperfect people? Who do you follow?
Jesus answered, “It is written: ‘Worship the Lord your God and serve him only.’” Luke 4:8
Most people will eventually let us down. Take any number of sports teams, if they don’t win the title, or have a winning season this year…there is always next year. Look at the once lowly Cubs and Indians who are slugging it out for the World Series, as one of these underdogs will come out on top, for the first time in a long time. How is your life different one week after your favorite team wins the World Series, Stanley Cup, Super Bowl, College championship, or even the conference or state title? Are there new expectations that they should do the same next year? Life is full of hills and valleys, and trying to live for only the peak experiences will lead to a lot of disappointments. Put your hope in things that are not so fleeting.
Yes, my soul, find rest in God; my hope comes from him. Truly he is my rock and my salvation; he is my fortress, I will not be shaken. Psalm 62:5-6
It is natural for us to follow others, either by choice, or just by proximity and life situations. We tend to follow the advice of the doctor or others we trust with expertise in a field when we seek their help. We soon learn that there are some ‘experts’ that are better than others in any given field, including the one in which you work. Eventually, we are let down by those around us and even to those who we admire from time to time when we realize they may not be as flawless as we once believed. Does this mean we should discredit everything we have learned from them? Likely not. In fact, watching how someone deals with their failures is as important as how they deal with successes in life. Remember how David was a man after God’s own heart, yet he surely had his flaws. There are likely people in your own life who look up to you. How you deal with the adversities in life may be as important as any other advice you may impart on them as well.
I lift up my eyes to the mountains— where does my help come from? My help comes from the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth. Psalm 121:1-2
So, go ahead and cheer when your favorite team wins the championship and gloat a little when your favorite player has a good game. But try to keep it in perspective and don’t put your hope in whether or not your team wins or loses, the person you voted for is elected, or whether the next album that comes out is as good as the last one, as these things are all fleeting. Put your hope in the one who does not change, who offers to help you at any given moment, and who is perfect. Follow him and it may not be as sensational as the hype others receive, but you will be better for it.
Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you. Philippians 4:8-9
Strength and Courage in Christ,