If people overly focus on others, they can actually find themselves in unhealthy places. In some instances, they can move into the realm of doubt and unbelief. In others, they may find themselves struggling with jealousy and envy. They may even find themselves holding onto a religious attitude coupled with a condemning spirit. Each realm has its own dynamics, but all lead to crippled relationships, and that includes with the Lord.
As it stands, access is easy to doubt and unbelief. Sometimes, circumstances can nudge someone in that direction. If you require affirmation from others and that spills into your spiritual life, and if you need someone else’s permission to believe, you can be shoved through the doorway of unbelief. Do you suppose Jesus asked his brothers if they thought He was the Son of God? Do you think He would have performed the many miracles if He needed permission from His friends and family to listen to the Father? Nowhere do we find Jesus encouraging Himself in man. It is one thing to get wise counsel from others; it is quite another to rely on them for personal validation. The moment we need approval from others before we believe, we will doubt everything pertaining to the Faith. If a person has a difficult time admitting he is a follower of Jesus Christ because of the fear of rejection from others, then he is weak in the faith. Your identity has to be in Christ Jesus, you cannot find it in man. Proverbs 29:25 The fear of man bringeth a snare: but whoso putteth his trust in the Lord shall be safe (KJV).
It is good to have those who can mentor us, as it is good to fellowship with other believers to help exhort one another (see Hebrews 10:24-25). However, we must strike a balance in standing in our individual identity and following others. It is easy to mimic those for whom we have great respect, even to the point where a person takes on the mannerisms of another. All believers have their own relationship with the Father, as well as their own callings. Someone may instruct in you in the ways of the Lord, but his or her calling differs from yours. That means you cannot copy his or her life and make it your own. You need to be who God called you to be and do what He called you do; no matter what your mentor does. If he or she stops serving the Lord, will you stop as well? 1 Peter 4:11 If any man speak, let him speak as the oracles of God; if any man minister, let him do it as of the ability which God giveth: that God in all things may be glorified through Jesus Christ, to Whom be praise and dominion for ever and ever. Amen (KJV).
There must be great care in not placing someone on the proverbial pedestal where he or she can “do no wrong” and follow wherever he or she may lead. The goal of anyone who disciples others is to get them to follow Jesus, regardless of what another may or may not do. Everyone must come to a place where the Holy Spirit is able to teach him or her the Word of God. The idea is everyone is dependent on God and not man. That is not to say you have no further need for teachers. That is dangerous doctrine. The point is that there is only One Holy Spirit, which means you do not ask, “What do we believe now?” It means you have to study Scripture for yourself, so that you have something to contribute, as the Lord reveals things to you. Teachers can be great clarifiers for what we learn along the way. When people put their trust in those they respect or even someone famous, and that person falls, it can be very devastating. In some instances, where someone of great renown failed in his personal life, there had been individuals so rocked by the incident that they left the church, and even departed from the faith. Those considered as mature in the faith are still human. They face struggles just as anyone else does. That is why it is vital to keep our foundation Christ, and not someone we respect as a spiritual leader. 1 Corinthians 3:9-11 For we are labourers together with God: ye are God's husbandry, ye are God's building. According to the grace of God which is given unto me, as a wise masterbuilder, I have laid the foundation, and another buildeth thereon. But let every man take heed how he buildeth thereupon. For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ (KJV).
In the days of His earthly ministry, the religious leaders found fault with Jesus; even though, the fault was with them. What was their fault? Mark 15:9-10 But Pilate answered them, saying, Will ye that I release unto you the King of the Jews? For he knew that the chief priests had delivered Him for envy (KJV, see also Matthew 27:11-18). They were envious of Jesus, and therefore looked for ways to accuse and destroy Him. It is important to guard our hearts and our identity in Christ Jesus, so that envy does not gain a foothold in our lives. When we understand that we are well loved of the Father, and that everyone’s relationship is unique with Him, we will have plenty of room in our hearts to cheer our brothers and sisters on when our Father uses and blesses them. If we allow envy and jealousy to have their way, we can take on a religious spirit that seeks to condemn others. We can take on a false piety that rails against anyone who does not believe the way we believe.
At the same time, we must be aware that it would be easy to rail against someone who has a religious attitude. We have to come to that place where we will follow Jesus no matter what others may or may not do. Our relationship with God should never be predicated on another person’s walk with the Lord. John 21:20-22 Then Peter, turning about, seeth the disciple whom Jesus loved following; which also leaned on his breast at supper, and said, Lord, which is he that betrayeth Thee? Peter seeing him saith to Jesus, Lord, and what shall this man do? Jesus saith unto him, If I will that he tarry till I come, what is that to thee? follow thou Me (KJV). Regardless of what Jesus may do with another person, we are to follow Him. Should you begin to be concerned about another in an unhealthy way, remember the words of Jesus, “What is that to you? You follow me!”