Born to Follow

Read John 21:15-22

ALSO IN SCRIPTURE

“For to this you have been called, because Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example, so that you should follow in his steps.” (1 Peter 2:21)

circlehq5It is no big secret that my favorite band in the world is Bon Jovi and that I have been listening to them faithfully for almost as long as I can remember. As a boy, I heard their songs on the radio and loved it every time they came on. My parents, who wouldn’t just buy me anything I wanted, allowed me to listen to them (and even bought me some of their albums) because, for the most part, their lyrics were clean and often inspirational…especially to a young boy from Jersey.

This band, which is also from New Jersey, have written and recorded 12 studio albums, have sold more than 100 million records worldwide, and have performed more than 2,700 concerts in over 50 countries for more than 34 million fans. Over the years, their music has spoken to me in many ways. With all of the ups and downs that comes with life, there is literally a Bon Jovi song for each of them. That is powerful stuff, and that is why they have been so successful. People can relate!

With that said, in 2009 Bon Jovi released the single, “We Weren’t Born to Follow” from their album “The Circle.” The song itself delivers everything a Bon Jovi fan has come to expect from the band. The lyrics are calling for people to become leaders, for people to pick themselves up off the ground and live life to it’s fullest no matter what comes their way. The chorus of the song is as follows: “We weren’t born to follow, come on and get up off your knees. When life is a bitter pill to swallow, you gotta hold on to what you believe. Believe that the sun will shine tomorrow and that your saints and sinners bleed. We weren’t born to follow, you gotta stand up for what you believe.”

At first glance, one might be questioning what is wrong with those lyrics. They seem to have a positive message and seem to be pushing people to be independent and to persevere; however, it is in that message that lies the problem. The lyrics are very heavily self-reliant. “We weren’t born to follow” implies that being a “follower” is bad and being a “leader” is good. Yet, I find these lyrics to be inherently backwards.

WE ARE BORN TO FOLLOW. God created us in God’s image and has been calling us to follow God’s way of living…of loving. It is is when we think we are INDEPENDENT…it is when we think that we can DO IT ON OUR OWN, that we run into trouble. It is our thinking that WE are the answer to our problems and self-reliance is the key to surviving life that leads us down a road that not only hurts others, but also brings us to the brink of self-destruction.

God has called us to lead in being followers. With God as OUR leader, we are called to lead others in following God…in following LOVE. That is the key to not just surviving life…but living it abundantly. So long as we are following the ultimate source of LOVE we will never be led astray and that LOVE will pick us up and carry us when we fall. God is not calling us to a life of INDEPENDENCE, but rather to a life DEPENDENT on GOD.

Like any parent, God wants us to live abundant and fruitful lives and wants us to recognize the source of our lives. If we fail to do that we will never see the great hope that lies within us, nor will we see the great hope that lies within others. Today’s challenge is to recognize that God is with you, that you are dependent on God, and that God is calling you to follow in order that you might lead others, by example, to a life of following!

THOUGHT OF THE DAY

“One cannot lead without first having followed.” – Rev. Todd R. Lattig

PRAYER

Lord, I submit myself to you and follow your lead. Lead me toward following your example and leading others to do the same. Amen.

5 thoughts on “Born to Follow”

  1. Are they 100% Christians?? Some of their songs talk about the devil such as:
    Devil in the temple,Sympathy for the devil among others. So I am very confused. If I hear a band I do hope they are completely Christians.

    1. Hi Ana, thank you for your response. As for whether or not the members of Bon Jovi are 100% Christians is a question for God. I cannot be the judge of that. It’s not my place, nor the place of any human being, Christian or not, to judge (Matthew 7:1-2). As for this particular devotion, I set out (as I often do) to find God in common place things. We are not to be conformed to this world; however, we do live in it. God has the ability to take anything, even if it is secular, and use it for the glory of God. So, I rely on the grace and the power of God to do just that.

      My utilization of the Bon Jovi song does not state, one way or the other, that Bon Jovi is Christian. I am utilizing the song “Born to Follow” as a starting point for deeper Christian truths as found in Scripture. As for their song tracks, just because someone titles a song a certain way does not mean they are or are not Christians. Of course, I do hope people are as well, but a band’s song naming process is not really an indication of that. Again, God is the judge.

      Whether one is 100% Christian or not is not something we are qualified to determine. What’s more, what does it mean to be 100% Christian? Does it mean that one is a “perfect” Christian? Does such a “perfect” Christian exist? Or does it mean that one is worshiping Christ 100% of the time as opposed to worshiping Christ 95% of the time with 5% of their devotion going to the Buddha or somewhere else?

      These are meant to be serious questions, because I believe that we as Christians run into conflict with Christ when we begin to put ourselves in the place of judging these things. Certainly we are called to determine the type of tree by it’s fruit (Matthew 7:15-20); however, that is to steer us away from following things that are not of God. Jesus did not call us to determine the tree so that we can judge the tree, but so we can measure ourselves and steer away from dangerous beliefs and ideologies.

      Anyway, thank you again for reading and engaging. I think you raise an important question and I hope I have responded in a way that is both clear and Scriptural. I pray that the love and grace of God be with you throughout your day and always.

    2. Re-reading your question, I am not sure if I was reading it right the first time. My response is basically the same, but in re-reading it I think you might have been asking me if I was interpreting them as being 100% Christian, when they are seemingly not a “Christian” band. If that is where you are coming from in your question, then I think the first part of my response answers that. No, Bon Jovi is not a “Christian” band and their song was not written (more than likely) with Christian theology in mind. I was simply taking a song I like by a band I love and thinking through the lyrics theologically. Thank you, again, for reading and raising the question. It was an important question to raise, either way it was meant, because it helps bring to light my intentionality in theologically engaging common place things such as songs, movies, television shows, books and other things. I hope either explanation, or both, have been helpful. God bless you. 🙂

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