Sunday, February 22, 2009

Follow the Leader

To this you were called, because Christ suffered for you, leaving you an example, that you should follow in his steps.

1 Peter 2:21

Early followers of Jesus were called “Little Christs” because their newfound faith had changed their lives for all to see. This odd group of people from all walks of life – rich and poor, male and female and slave and free -- were utterly different from the rest of society. They somehow had grown more caring and generous to both neighbors and strangers alike, and they willingly sacrificed their time and resources to ease sorrow and correct injustices.

In a word, they were transformed.

And that says a lot for the effectiveness of their leader, an obscure rabbi from a distant corner of the Roman Empire who just happened to be God’s own Son. Few recognized that at the time. But because some did and followed Jesus, millions in future generations would help to change the world for the better.

Modern-day Christ-followers must too be leaders by imitating Jesus’ actions and principles. It’s this very strategy that His first disciples used to guide their very lives. They recognized that Jesus the Leader was also Jesus the Follower. Christ spoke constantly with His Father (God) in prayer and always sought His guidance. “I tell you the truth, the Son can do nothing by himself; he can do only what he sees his Father doing,” explained Jesus, “because whatever the Father does the Son also does.”

What were some of the other attributes that made Jesus (and can make us) an effective leader? In addition to inspiring His followers to leave behind their old ways for a higher calling, Jesus challenged the status quo. For instance, he defied the day’s spiritual leaders by exposing their religious hypocrisy and revealing God’s true intent behind the Scriptures. Jesus also encouraged His followers and enabled the to succeed in their objectives.

Let’s not forget that He also acted with a sense of urgency. From the foundation of the world, Jesus knew that He had only about three years to save the world. It was in this brief period that He preached God’s word, healed the sick, raised the dead and forgave all those who asked Him. He even asked God to forgive His own executioners because they didn’t realize what they were doing.

As the saying goes, who knows what tomorrow brings? Whether we have three years to live or 33, ask God to fill you with His Holy Spirit – that personal, loving Power that will guide you to follow Jesus the rest of your days. And as a faithful follower who seeks to do His will, He’ll follow the same pattern as in ages past and transform you into a leader – and one who leads intentionally.

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