The way of discipleship is a path of following Jesus through the influence of others who are following Jesus. Paul wrote,
“Follow my example as I follow the example of Christ” (1 Corinthians 11:1)
Some have said, “The Scriptures were incomplete, this as a stop gap measure.” Yet Jesus elevated example-
He appointed twelve that they might be with him and that he might send them out to preach (Mark 3:14)
Without teaching of the word we miss the principles, but the teacher will be watched to understand how it is lived. Paul writes-
Join together in following my example, brothers and sisters … (Philippians 3:17)
To the extent we follow the example of Christ we become an example worth following. We have little idea of how people see our lives and the impact this has on their walk with God. The verse goes on –
and just as you have us as a model, keep your eyes on those who live as we do.
We must take responsibility to choose how we are influenced and from whom we gain our perspective of what it looks like to follow Christ. It is good to be close enough to these examples to see their lives. The contrary message is also given-
… watch out for those who cause divisions and put obstacles in your way that are contrary to the teaching you have learned. Keep away from them. Romans 16:17
The measure of the ones we are to avoid is the fruit of their lives as much as their teaching.