Read His Words Before Ours!
“Do as I say, not as I do!”
Have you heard this statement from someone in authority?
Are you drawn to respect them, or do you have another reaction?
As a leader oversees employees, volunteers, or children, it is easier to see the mistakes of others and call them out, rather than coming alongside to model growth. It’s easier to list the rules and expect compliance rather than walk with another to demonstrate, correct, and encourage.
Jesus didn’t choose easy leadership.
Though He was fully God, He didn’t use His authority to demand His followers to go where He was unwilling. In John 13, Jesus postures Himself as a servant, washing His disciples’ feet. His death was imminent, yet He gathered them to observe Passover, serve them, and give instructions on carrying out the will of the Father by serving one another.
Neither the disciples, nor us, have the power naturally to obey this, or any command given by Jesus, on our own. It is only when we belong to Him by surrendering control of our life, through humbly submitting by faith (Hebrews 11:6) to His perfect authority, that we are given divine power through the Holy Spirit to obey Him.
Without complete submission to Him,
we are only playing a part without any heart change.
Jesus submitted to the Father with obedient surrender.
Just as He modeled, so are we to follow.
As the triune Godhead, the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are three distinct persons, while also One Being. The very existence of the triune God is actively lived out with mutual submission to One Another out of shared respect and love just as they have always done for eternity past, and will continue for eternity future.
God does not choose easy leadership. He perfectly models, and humbly walks beside us, teaching us to live and love like Him.
“By this everyone will know you are My disciples, if you love one another.” (John 13:35)
Our greatest command from Jesus.
His greatest example to us.
Jesus modeled the love we are to have for others;
none were considered too “damaged” for His perfect love.
The truest test of a disciple of Jesus is how we love.
Today, it’s often difficult to see love in action, especially if we focus on the media’s newsfeed. With sin and brokenness ruling our world, the selfless love modeled by Jesus doesn’t take the spotlight.
Therefore it takes courage…..
To stand against the norm and love like Jesus.
To defend the bullied or mistreated.
To serve both the arrogant and the diseased.
To sacrificially love those society has rejected.
This kind of love….
requires a boldness only available through the power of the God
who gave Himself entirely for us.
When we love like Jesus, we risk ridicule or even bodily harm.
Loving like Jesus isn’t easy.
Jesus’ love alive within us….
Offers kind words to those who are hateful or mistreat us.
Sacrifices time, puts on humility, and sees those who need a smile and gentle touch.
Courageously expands our circles to include those different from us.
This is how Jesus loves us.
Just this morning, I broke down weeping as I read of disunity and brokenness in our culture. It all felt like too much! Overwhelming! How much we need humble, self-sacrificing love to bring genuine healing! This broken world and its hurting relationships are clearly not what God intended as He so carefully created every detail from nothing. (Genesis 1)
Sometimes I feel Jesus’ command to love others, in good and bad times, is a crushing weight! To reach out and love those who have hurt or blatantly oppose me feels impossible! Through tears, I shared with my husband that sometimes I want to quit, step outside this command to love and raise my white flag in defeat.
Jesus washed the feet of Judas,
fully knowing those feet would soon rush to betray Him!
He faced the cross in our place to save us!
Us, the outcast, the hurting, the unclean, and rejected.
He stretched Himself out to pay for every sin past, present, and future,
even as He became unclean and rejected.
As Jesus suffered cruel torture, He reached out with perfect love to rescue souls condemned to an eternity apart from Him.
But not devoid of truth.
His love was not a permissive “you do you” kind of love. He loved the world enough to declare the truth of the Gospel that all are separated from Him because of sin, and only can return to God through Christ’s sacrifice to pay for sin.
Likewise, He calls us to love others with this truth.
Paul invites us to, “Imitate me, as I also imitate Christ.” (1 Corinthians 11:1)
I want to echo this invitation.
I want to, yet I hesitate.
Such an invitation is risky.
It requires humility, transparency, and vulnerability.
It would be more comfortable, easier, to hand over some verses and say, “just do what the Bible says”. But that isn’t loving like Jesus.
Instead, I’m called to die to my own comfort and let others see Jesus actually living through me!
I can’t do it alone.
I must be willing to both live in constant communication with God through His Word and prayer, and actively engage in biblical community, surrounding myself with others who will share Jesus’ truth in love alongside me. Jesus’ sacrificial love, alive in me, requires me to meet others where they are, demonstrating Jesus’ love in everyday life.
Like Paul, I must be willing to live a life worth imitating
as I do as Jesus has done for me.
Will you join me?!
Embracing God’s fullness in our lives is rooted in scripture and memorizing His word is vital to our continued growth and depth with Jesus. Tap and hold from your mobile device to download this week’s verse and make it your phone’s lockscreen!