Word By Mail

Someone is Following You

Micah 6:8

Let me ask you a question, who is following you? Who is following you? Someone is. Someone is following you today. For all fathers, this is especially true for you, but it’s not only for you. I want to speak to all the men today, but not just the men. This commission from God is true for every man and woman today.

Please hear me, someone is following you. Whether you’re an old grandpa-man like me, or whether you’re a young man not even married yet, this message is for you. Because men, someone is following you. That’s the way God made us, and that is what’s happening.

In the Marine Corps, when a squad goes out on patrol, especially in heavy enemy territory, they walk in a single file line, and they all follow a person who is given the title, “point-man.” The point-man walks at the point, and everyone follows the point man, single file, stepping where he steps. In Afghanistan, where IEDs are the norm, the point-man swings a minesweeper. And he has a rifleman right behind him to protect him because his focus is entirely on the path. He knows that every step he takes, every man in his squad is going to take that same step. Every turn that he takes, every man in his squad is going to take that same turn.

The path he chooses to take is the path the squad will take. And so, he doesn’t take a step until he knows (to the best of his ability) that step is clear. There is a huge responsibility on the point man to make his path straight and his way clear. Because he knows the lives of those who are following him could be lost because of his choices.

Men, whether you know it or not, whether you admit it or not, whether you like it or not, someone is following you. Every step you take, they are going to step where you step. Every turn you take, they are going to take that turn. The path that you take is the path they are going to take. And if you casually choose your path through the minefield of this world, then those following you are going to casually choose their path through the minefield of this world. The path you choose will be the path they choose.

In the combat zone, there is no such thing as “Do as I say, not as I do.” My son David was sharing an intense story of this concept with me recently. There is no way a point-man would ever say, “I’m going this way, but you guys go that way.” Not only would he never say it, but his men would never do it. They know their only choice is to follow their point man no matter what path he chooses. The point man accepts the responsibility, at the risk of his own life, to say, “Follow me as I choose the path, and I will make the way clear for you.”
 
 1 Corinthians 11:1 Paul says (NIV)
1 Follow my example, as I follow the example of Christ. 

Not do what I say; instead, watch me! Watch me. And what you see me do, you do. And where I step, you step. And the path I choose, you choose. Follow my example, as I follow the example of Christ.

Paul is saying Jesus is the point man. Jesus is in front of me, and he has the ultimate minesweeper. Jesus knows where every IED is hidden in this minefield of a world. He knows what’s around every corner; he knows where every ambush is. And Paul is saying, “I am walking in step with the ultimate point man, Jesus.”  I’m stepping where he steps. And so, you can follow me as I am following Christ. We will walk single-file behind our point-man, Jesus. Paul says, I’m stepping where he steps, so you step where I step, and you’ll be safe.

Men, someone is following you. And they are following you through an enemy minefield that we call the world. First and foremost, if you’re a husband and a father, those who are following you are your wife and your children. They are going to go the way you go. Their lives are going to end up looking like your life. They’re going to follow your steps, at least to some extent, for better or for worse.

One of Satan’s most effective strategies to try to destroy future generations is to remove fathers from leading their families. He loves generational destruction. He loves to set a ball rolling that may bring destruction for multiple generations, without him. Why? Because he can only be in one place at one time. His little demons can only be in one place at one time. They love creating generational destruction.

One of his best ways to start this generational destruction is to try to remove fathers from the home, and in our culture, he has been increasingly successful. Removing the father physically is his best-case-scenario, but he is okay with a father being emotionally or spiritually removed as well. Because if Satan can remove the point man from the family physically, emotionally, or spiritually, then it is much easier for the enemy to begin his generational damage. Men, you are the point-man. And if you are AWOL, your family will wander aimlessly in the minefield of the world, without direction and often to their destruction.

Men, God made us to lead. And one of the natural consequences of God making you to lead is that someone is following you. We have got to accept that, and we have got to be ready to give our lives fully and completely for those who are following us.
In 2 Corinthians, the Apostle Paul said to those who were following him:
 
2 Corinthians 4:11–12 (NLT)
11 Yes, we live under constant danger of death because we serve Jesus, so that the life of Jesus will be evident in our dying bodies.
12 So we live in the face of death, but this has resulted in eternal life for you.

This is a battlefield mentality. We live in a spiritual war. And men, someone is going to go the way you go, and they’re going to live the way you live. The question today is, are you willing to lay your life down for their sake? And believe me, far too many macho men (including in the church) will say “I would give my life for my family, someone comes in with a gun, I’ll take that shot, I’ll give my life!” . . . But I don’t have time to read my kids a Bible story at bedtime. I won’t do the dishes for my wife, and I won’t stop living as a POW in the shackles of my sin.

Guys, when I say, are you willing to give your life, I don’t mean are you willing to die? That’s simple. I mean, are you willing to lay down your self-centered, self-serving, self-focused life as a sacrifice for those who God has called you to lead?

Paul says in Philippians 3 to those who are following him,

Philippians 3:17 (NLT)
17 Dear brothers and sisters, pattern your lives after mine . . .

Can you say that to those who are following you? Can you say, Pattern your lives after mine? Can you say to them, “Watch my life, both in public and in private, and pattern your life after mine. When you grow up, do what you see me doing now.”

And remember, I’m not saying that women can’t or don’t lead. Women can and do lead. We have exceptionally gifted women leaders in this church. And I am grateful that women are gifted to lead. Because when a man, in a home situation, cops out, or checks out or chooses to leave. So often, a mother is gifted by God to lead the family. And I am forever grateful for my own mother, and for God equipping her to lead.

But, today, I’m talking to the men. And I’m saying; men, you were created to lead. We’ve got to accept that. And someone is following our lead, right now, today. And as Christian men, we must say to those following us, “follow me as I follow Christ.”

Steve Farrar, who is a great author and teacher on men’s leadership, was speaking about the potential impact of a strong Christian in the White House. Then he said, but . . .

“If millions of Christian men in this country seriously began leading their own homes, the impact on America would be far greater than one Christian man leading in the White House.”

So, Let’s see how God says we are supposed to lead. Turn to the book of contents in your Bible. Find the page number for the book of Micah. And turn there. Micah is right in the middle of the Minor Prophets.

Much of Micah focuses on the leaders of Israel, who had turned from God and became entrenched in the world. They had fallen victim to everything godly leaders face today, idolatry, moral, civil, and spiritual failures, and more. They were a complete wreck.
So, Micah chapter 6 begins with the Lord’s indictment, he is presenting his case against Israel and specifically against Israel’s leaders. In Micah 6:3, God says in essence, “What have I done to you to make you turn away from me and follow the gods of this world?”
Then in verse 6 the leaders respond to God, and their response seems sarcastic at first glance. But really what they’re saying is, what can we do at this point? We’ve already blown it so bad, is there anything that can bring us back to God? The leaders knew there was nothing they could do to earn forgiveness from God for the sins and mistakes of their past.

And there is nothing we can do to earn God’s forgiveness for the sins and mistakes of our past. Just like the Israelites, our only hope is in God’s mercy and his grace towards us. And I promise you, if you have repented and received Christ as your Savior and if you are following him as your Lord, then you have received God’s mercy and his grace to cover the sins and mistakes of your past.

But that leaves us with one question, doesn’t it? What does the Lord require of us today? What can we do now? We have repented of our sinful past. We desire for God to transform our lives, and we accept that there is someone following us today. So, what do we do now?

Fortunately, God is going to summarize all that he requires of us in just three commands. God had charged the people for their rebellion. The leaders had said (in essence) there is nothing we can do to make this up to you, God. And then God responds in Micah 6:8:

Micah 6:8 (NLT)
8 No, O people (Literally, O MAN), the Lord has told you what is good, and this is what he requires of you: to do what is right, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God.

God says, O man, I’ve already told you what is good. It’s already written in my Word. And here is what the Lord requires of you today;
            1) Do what is right.
            2) Love mercy
            3) Walk Humbly with your God

Men, if you would say with the leaders of Israel in Micah chapter 6, I have regrets and remorse for my mistakes and sins of the past. And I repent of those things, and I genuinely ask for forgiveness. But Lord, what can I do today to start being the leader you’ve called me to be? What can I do from this day forward for those who are following me?

If that is your heart today, God has summarized what he requires of you;
            1) Do what is right
            2) Love mercy
            3) Walk humbly with your God

Guys, God’s not asking us to be ‘father of the year.’ He’s not requiring perfection. He’s not asking us to compare ourselves to someone we think is the perfect father.

Again, Micah 6:8 says, the Lord has told you what is good, throughout His Word. And here then, is all that he requires of you,

Your flesh says, do what you want.
God says, do what is right.

Your flesh says, love your self will.
God says love mercy.

The enemy says, let your pride drive your life.
God says, walk humbly with him.

God knows, we all have regrets and remorse from mistakes and poor decisions in our past. But, throughout the Bible, God has one message about our past. His message is repent, turn from your mistakes and sin, and ask for forgiveness. And turn to God, and to God’s ways, starting today.

& the Lord has already told you what is good, throughout His Word. And in Micah 6:8 he tells you all that is required of you, to lead those who are following you.

Instead of your old life of doing what you want, you can be born again to a new life of doing what is right.
Instead of your old life of loving your self-will, you can be born again into a new life of loving mercy.
Instead of your old life, driven by your pride, you can be born again into a new life of walking humbly with God.

We can be freed from the prison of following our own sin-nature and the world’s ways. We can be transformed by God and returned to our rightful place in the battle for those we love.

We can put away our old life and be born again into a new life, by God’s grace. Not by trying harder, but by having the life of Christ rule and reign inside of us. Because when Jesus Christ truly takes over your life, he brings the full power of the Godhead with him.

Ephesians 1:19–20 (NLT)
I also pray that you will understand the incredible greatness of God’s power for us who believe him. This is the same mighty power that raised Christ from the dead . . .

The same power that raised Jesus from the grave can live in you. And that is enough power to raise you to a new life so that those who are following you can safely walk in your steps.

You can do what’s right, according to God’s Word, not your own nature.

You can embrace mercy. This word for mercy means “faithful, steadfast loving-kindness.” And that is what we need for those who are following us, “faithful, steadfast loving-kindness.”

And you can walk humbly with God. Humility is the opposite of pride; pride is the root of all sin. Pride is placing your thoughts and opinions over others. Humility is the opposite of that. And if there is one thing that we want those who are following us to learn, it is to walk humbly with God.

Men, there is someone following you. If you will walk in these requirements of Micah 6:8, those who are following you will safely navigate the minefield that the enemy has set up for them in this world.

A long time ago, I taught a message for fathers called “Teach Your Children,” which has been lost in the archives. At the end of that message, I played an incredible video. It was at a Promise Keeper’s event where Dennis Rainey set up 12 huge bear traps on the stage, including the biggest large animal trap made. And they were all set, ready to take off a limb of anyone who wasn’t careful enough. And he talked about how dangerous this world is for teenagers to navigate on their own. And in the process, he sprung some of these huge traps with a 2x4 to show the genuine danger.

Then he brought a dad and a 13-year-old son on the stage. He put the dad at one end of the traps and the son at the other end. & he explained that he was going to have the dad tell the son how to walk through the traps (in other words, “do what I say”).

Then the dad got nervous when they asked the teenage boy to take off his shoes, and then he got really nervous when they blindfolded his son. And so the dad started to tell his son how to move forward toward the first trap. When suddenly, the dad yelled to his son, FREEZE, DO NOT MOVE, stop right where you’re at.

Then the dad walked across the stage, told his son to put both hands firmly on his shoulders behind him, and carefully follow him every step of the way through the bear traps. And so, all across the stage, the son stepped only where his dad stepped, and he easily made it through all the traps.

If you are a father today, make sure you are building a relationship with your children that will enable them to follow you closely, walking the way you walk, stepping where you step. Only in this way can you lead them through the minefield the enemy has set up for them. And if it is not your children following you, figure out who it is and take your God-given responsibility to lead them safely through the enemy’s traps and IEDs in this world.

Let’s pray. But, before we do. If you are buried in regret of the sin and mistakes of your past, hear me, please. Your only hope is to come to the foot of the cross and lay it down and be forgiven by the God who loves you enough to die for you. If that’s you right now, cry out to God. “God, I’m sorry for my past. I can’t fix it. Lord, the guilt crushes me. Please forgive me. Please cover the sin and the mistakes of the past with your blood. Please receive me as a sinner saved only by grace. Cleanse me of my sin, Lord, and make me ready to follow you.”

And if you’ve left your position as point man, physically, emotionally, or spiritually, and you know that those who are supposed to be following you are wandering on the minefield alone, right now, make this commitment to God. “God, please break the chains of my bondage, Lord. I confess my sin; I repent of my sin. Please give me the power to be free from the bondage of my sin. Please give me new life, and new hope and the power to follow you. And Lord, I commit to getting back on the battlefield.” 

Lord Jesus, thank you. Thank you for your love, for your grace, for your mercy, and for the strength to lay our lives down for the good of those following us. We pray in your mighty name Jesus, Amen.