Recently, one of my heroes walked away from the faith. This was someone that I looked up to and admired. They shared their faith with boldness in a context that can be hard to. They encouraged me in my understanding of God’s Word and in learning how to communicate that truth in a way that is faithful to what is written. They didn’t seem to waver…that is, until recently. Where there was once a steadfast view of who God is and what He has said, there are now only questions and a complete denial. Such a fall has been very painful to watch. It makes you wonder things like, “How could this happen?” and “Is there any hope for them to return?” In the midst of great discouragement over this individual, the Lord was gracious in giving me some much-needed reminders. One major one being that our hope cannot be in people. As great or as godly as they appear to be, they are just people. They are sinners desperately in need of grace just like us. When we put people on a pedestal – we put them in a place that only Christ should hold. There is only One mediator between God and man and it is not our heroes.
These men and women are not the ones to ultimately show us who God is or bring us closer to Him. They will only disappoint. Paul informs Timothy that the only mediator is Jesus (1 Tim. 2:5). We cannot make people out to be anything more than what they are. No, it is not wrong to have examples to look to (Heb 13:7) but our hope should not rest on them, nor should everything we have in God be dependent on them. If this is the case then when they fall, we will fall. With those we look up to we should always remember a truth that comes up again and again throughout the Bible, that Jesus is better. Think of the heroes that are set up in the OT. Now think of their sins. Those flaws are not secret and there’s reason for that. There’s a great kid’s song entitled, “Only Jesus” by Shai Linne that lays this out perfectly for us, “Adam ate forbidden fruit and lost his life/ Abraham got scared and lied about his wife/ Sarah laughed to herself when she heard God’s promise/ Rebekah encouraged her son to be dishonest/ Aaron used crafts to make a golden calf/ Moses got mad, struck the rock with his staff/ David sinned greatly – even lost his baby/ And Jacob? He was just all around shady/ The point is not to make light of our flaws/ But to show that every one of us needs the cross.”
There are those who leave the faith to show that they were never really of us (1 John 2:19) and give warning to those whose trust isn’t in Christ and whose hearts aren’t resolved on God’s Truth. And there are those who stumble, repent, and return. Either way, each of us needs the grace that comes alone through the cross and the faithfulness that’s dependent on the Holy Spirit’s work within us. Leaders will let us down, examples won’t meet every expectation, and sometimes even the faithful fail but thanks be to God that we have a greater Leader, Example, and Savior in Jesus whose grace is greater than all of our sin. He is the One we can always look to and hold to for truth and life. I’m also thankful that because of the cross and because of Christ’s work, there are faithful examples we can still look up to surrounding us – to show us what it means to follow Christ through doubts, different circumstances, and sin.
Thankful to God that Jesus is Greater, Pastor Rudy