Seasons. With each new season comes new opportunities, new tasks and new challenges. The change of seasons can be exciting; filled with anticipation and hope for what’s to come. But the change of seasons can also bring feelings of anxiety as we await the unknown of what’s ahead. As one year winds down a new year waits in the shadows, what is your hope for 2019?
“A Game Changer is someone who doesn’t dwell on what life has been like but strives to show others what life can be like” – Geoff “GT” Todd @nowthatsGt
Jesus was a leader in every sense - He led others in word and in deed, setting an example of righteousness, compassion and closeness to the Father. One of the most amazing characteristics of Jesus’ teaching was its hopefulness. He did not simply instruct His followers on how to live today; He offered them vision for the future.
Jesus knew that His hearers were tired of listening to a list of to-do’s. The Hebrew law had been in place for centuries, and its Jewish adherents followed each commandment to the letter. Jesus changed the game by introducing a new Law - one that replaced the burden of external obedience with the freedom of a simple, internal faith. He shifted His audience’s focus from self to God - from their own efforts and performance to the Father’s goodness, love and power (see Matthew 5:21-48).
As a good teacher, Jesus recognized that in order for a new command to be followed, it must be accompanied by a higher purpose. The purpose Jesus attached to His new law was eternal and universal. He informed His followers of the Kingdom of Heaven, the worthiness of a life committed to God and the importance of a faith that comes from the heart (see Matthew 13).
On the night before His death, Jesus tells His disciples:
“A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another, even as I have loved you, that you also love one another. By this all men will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.” John 13:34
Jesus’ teachings were both upward and outward - He first demonstrated the possibility of real intimacy with God, then expressed the necessity of love for each other. According to Jesus, you could not have closeness with the Lord without loving those around you, and vice versa. That’s why, during His last communion with His closest companions, Jesus reiterates His final and most important command - ‘Above all else, love those around you. That’s how the world will know you follow me.’
Jesus looked beyond the troubles of today to the hope of tomorrow. He instilled confidence and vision into His followers by pointing them toward a higher, far-reaching purpose. It was Jesus that first showed us the true meaning of living “I’m Third” by placing God’s desires and other’s needs above His own. Let us follow His example by leading those around us in this same way!