Obey your spiritual leaders and submit to them [continually recognizing their authority over you], for they are constantly keeping watch over your souls and guarding your spiritual welfare, as men who will have to render an account [of their trust]. [Do your part to] let them do this with gladness and not with sighing and groaning, for that would not be profitable to you [either].
Ever since I began my walk with God and now after pastoring for over 29 years, I have seen the impact of this verse over and over again. There are three types of people in the body of Christ revealed in this verse. There are those who have never really acknowledged who their spiritual leaders are because they have no relationship with a spiritual leader, those who have found such leadership and biblically submitted to them; and those who have not submitted to the leadership God has given to them.
There are many in the body who say, “So and so is my spiritual leader”, but they may often be referring to someone they have never met, nor do they sit under their teaching ministry. All who have never established who these leaders are, and all who may have done so but do not submit to the Word of God feed to them do not experience the “profitable” life God has for them. They don’t get stronger spiritually, they tend to stay in spiritual limbo. Why? Because God’s Word teaches you cannot fully mature without the spiritual leadership He has provided for you, and by submitting to the Word God He brings through them.
But I have seen many examples of believers in my own life, and in other churches where people have obeyed this verse and the results are obvious. They continue to grow spiritually, their marriages become better, their children walking with God, and they live a much more stable life. They have built upon the rock of God’s Word and their foundation is solid. Our spiritual welfare in life has much to do with having spiritual leadership and submitting to the truths God brings to us through those who watch out for our souls.