Too often religious leaders ask us to be and act in ways that they themselves prove incapable or unwilling to follow. This should not dampen the validity of their message, but should rather help us to focus on Jesus Christ, not our religious leaders, for a perfect example.
The fact that Jesus Christ lived out in his life the very faith we are called to live in ours, is perhaps the single greatest motivator for making a steady faith commitment.
Paul captures this point well in his letter to the Philippians when he reminds them that their "attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus." (Phil 2:5) Notice Paul does not say that the Philippians should follow the example of their local religious leaders. They should learn from them, yes, but follow the example of Jesus Christ.
Paul goes on to describe Jesus in the following way: "who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient to death - even death on a cross! Therefore God exalted him to the highest place..." (Phil 2:6-9)
The faith we are called to live out in our daily lives is precisely that which Jesus himself also lived out in his. He gave an example in his own life of the obedience and faithfulness we are each to have in ours and he is the only one we are to follow. None other provides us with a perfect example of faith.
Rev. Gordon McClellan is an ordained Presbyterian minister and Founder/President of The Christian Networks Journal.