September 23, 2023

Learning to Follow

Written by Tripp Prince

When discerning those to whom you should be subject, a servant’s heart is the first trait to seek out.”

Thoughts from daily Bible reading for today – September 23, 2023

Now I urge you, brothers—you know that the household of Stephanas were the first converts in Achaia, and that they have devoted themselves to the service of the saints—be subject to such as these, and to every fellow worker and laborer. 1 Corinthians 16:15-16, ESV

As someone who was born and raised in the United States, the idea of being someone’s “subject” is deeply antithetical to our American virtues of freedom and independence. Our forefathers led a revolution to remove the power that English royalty held over its subjects. As such, we are not the most naturally submissive people! And while certain expressions of this independence “streak” have value and merit, as disciples of Christ, it can prove to be deeply problematic!

Jesus modelled submission to the Father, and invites us daily to submit our lives to him and the faithful leaders he has placed in our lives. 

Perhaps you find it easier to accept the first part of that statement. Submit to Jesus? Sure! But submit my life to broken and fallen men and women? Highly unlikely! Yet time and time again, as we read the New Testament, we encounter invitations from both Jesus and his disciples to model a life of humble submission, trusting that he has placed people in positions of authority for our good and mutual growth. 

Now, as we see in 1 Corinthians 16, the type of person we submit to is as important as the act of submission itself. Paul urges submission, to subject oneself to the leadership of Stephanas and his household, yet note the reason. Is it because of his charm and natural charismatic leadership abilities? His wealth and connections throughout the city? No, and no. They have devoted themselves to the service of the saints

When discerning those to whom you should be subject, a servant’s heart is the first trait to seek out. Is this man or woman motivated by self-interest and gain, or do they sacrificially give their lives away, often at great cost, so that you can flourish in your life with Christ? You’ll know it when you meet someone like this, for they exude the aroma of God’s Kingdom, and are indeed worthy of following, for they serve as a model of the true servant, Jesus Christ. Trust them and learn from them, for they are God’s gift to you and the means by which he is inviting you to learn what it means to serve, even as you are served.


Father, give us the gift of faithful servant leaders, and help us trust and follow them, believing that they are pointing us to you, through Christ our Lord. Amen.


What servant leader has the Lord placed in your life in this season?

Related Reading

Ephesians 6:7-8; 2 Corinthians 4:5; 1 Peter 5:5

Worship Resource

Brooke Ligertwood: A Thousand Hallelujahs


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