“Whoever serves me must follow me; and where I am, my servant also will be. My Father will honor the one who serves me.” – John 12:26
What is a disciple? A disciple is a follower of Christ who studies the Word of God and seeks to live righteously. John 12:26 is articulating that in order to be a leader to others, you must first be a follower to Christ; because you cannot lead others to Him if you are not submitted yourself.
Jesus’ calling of disciples is recorded in Matthew 4:18–22, Mark 3:16-20 and Luke 5:1–11. The 12 disciples listed in Scripture are: Peter, James, John, Andrew, Nathanael (Bartholomew), James (son of Alphaeus), Judas, Thaddeus (Jude), Matthew, Philip, Simon and Thomas. Jesus sought to teach them His ways and help instruct them in what God expected of them. Before they could be sent out to lead, they first needed to learn.
Many people struggle with the concept of being a follower because they believe that it is an inferior position to be in. However, it is a place of listening and a place of learning. It requires faith and obedience. It requires patience and discernment.
Being a follower of Christ is empowering and life-transforming, for “the Lord your God will make you the head and not the tail—placing you above and not beneath—if you obey the commands of the Lord your God that I’m giving you today to keep and observe” (Deuteronomy 28:13).
If you want to lead, you must first follow—you must commit to being a disciple of Jesus’ and to submit your will to God’s will. It will take you out of your comfort zone, but it will also give you the greatest return on your investment.