One of the ways we are motivated is by wanting to be like someone we admire. We recognize someone’s positive traits or that they have achieved certain goals that are appealing to us. So we reason that if we can do what they do we can also achieve similar goals or traits. This is a normal expectation; Christians should be able to identify role models that exemplify dependence on the Father. This is one of the reasons Jesus came in the flesh, and dwelt among us. And Paul encouraged his readers to follow him as he followed Christ; to examine his life, to see where he was depending on his God.
Unfortunately, in many, if not most cases, Christian role models in leadership positions or public ministry are either not exemplifying dependence on the Father, or they have isolated themselves from the people in such a way that we really don’t know what’s going on behind closed doors. It’s interesting that it took Jesus 30 years to learn and practice being dependent on His Father in private in order to minister publicly for three and a half years.
As we truly learn how to depend on the Father, we want to also be aware that there will likely come a time when we will be used as a role model in some capacity. We just don’t want a public ministry to be our measure of success.
When you recognize the peace, rest and confidence that comes from dependence on the Father, don’t be shy about asking how to do it. If a person is truly depending on God, His nature is flowing to and through him. Since God’s nature is, basically, to give, anyone depending on Him will be willing to mentor and instruct on how to enjoy the freedom that comes with this relationship.
Another way to test true character, especially of those in public positions of religious authority, is to check with those closest to them. Do their family, friends and co-workers feel unconditionally accepted? Loved? Valued by that person? The successfully dependent Christian will be freely giving of him or herself to those around them, according to spirit, and allow them the freedom to be who and where God has them at any given moment. (This does not mean all behavior is accepted.)
Remember though that we only truly live the Christian life as we depend on God. It is only Spirit character, flowing to and through that person’s spirit, teaching that individual on a moment by moment basis, that is to be emulated. Remembering this keeps us from putting others on a pedestal, and frees them to make mistakes as well.