home > Pastor’s Desk > 2024 > February 23rd > Follow Me As I Follow Jesus

We all walk a path in life that is set before us. We start with very little experience and knowledge about the purpose of our life and the world beyond us. All of humanity experiences joy, wisdom, strength, weakness, suffering and hardship, especially those who are “contending for the faith”. Knowing Jesus is a very special part of this life journey.

“Likewise, you who are younger, be subject to the elders. Clothe yourselves, all of you, with humility toward one another, for “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble”.
Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you, casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you. Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. Resist him, firm in your faith, knowing that the same kinds of suffering are being experienced by your brotherhood throughout the world.”
1 Peter 5:5-9

Leading and Being Led

A true shepherd has a heart that has been willing to listen and learn and is willing to protect others above themselves.

If you have ever worked in a place where the leader has never had their hand “on the tools” or experienced the grind of daily repetition and lack of time and resources to complete their tasks well, you will know it is difficult to obey this kind of leader. They make decisions based on numbers and profits, so they can show their worth to the investors or those who are also in high positions. This way they can retain their reputation of creating position and wealth. They do not take the time to listen to the concerns of the workers or may not even know what it is like to have to at times break some rules, to keep the organisation running smoothly.

God is not like that. He humbled Himself to come to this earth to go through life as we do. He didn’t give himself a “head start” or any favours so He could easily pass the difficulties easily. Jesus went through so much more than we ever have to. He was, and is, the Good Shepherd.

When we find that place of understanding Him, that knowledge of surrender to the one who ‘leads us in green pastures’ – we then become ones who can say: “follow me as I follow Jesus!” Even in the Old Testament God was known to be:

“gracious and merciful, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love”
Ps. 145:8

Jesus became our example; He followed His Father faithfully and spent time learning not only His Laws and commands, but seeking His heart. Numerous times we see Jesus retreating from others simply to pray – to seek God, to bask in His presence, to have His refreshing. Jesus knew that the Word was important and binding, but He also knew God, the author. And God can use His Word in the ways that He chooses, like healing a man on the Sabbath day.

If we understand the character and heart of God, we can know that His desire is that ALL people be saved. He wants ALL of us to live a life of inner peace even though the storms of life rage around us.

So, in the church context, did God institute elders to boss people around? Do church leaders have some unattainable qualities that only a few possess? NO! God calls each one of us to different tasks in this life. There are those that are called to minister in “the leading of the church” at various levels. They need to mirror the Good Shepherd and be like Him.

These are not CEO positions as the world would know it. It is a calling of great sacrifice. It is to become, as Paul said, the least and the weakest in man’s eyes but also to be strong in His power.

Trusting the Good Shepherd means complete surrender to His will in our life. Jesus washed His disciples feet – God became a servant! He knew every position that is given to mankind.

Our enemy knows that our fallen nature craves importance and power. We don’t want to be hurt, unseen or used. We want to save face while appearing gracious and caring. If we are honest every single one of us have sacrificed a relationship or hurt others by our own selfish decisions.

This is why, I believe, that until one has walked in the wilderness as Christ did, and have suffered and resisted temptations (and sometimes failed), they cannot be one who leads others well.

Sometimes young people (either physically or spiritually), attain this  Shepherd’s heart well before others who may have even been in the church many years. I have seen older Christians turn up their noses at young leaders, thinking that they themselves qualify more. But the reality is that we all, especially leaders, must follow the voice and leading of the Good Shepherd. He is the only one who holds the keys to life and death and gives us every good blessing in this life! He is the one who directs each of us to the path He wants.

Humility is a strength in our connection with God. A daily discipline of feeding from His words and being covered by His blood so we can walk blameless when the accuser comes to take us to “court”. Humility means, we look to the life, death and resurrection of our Saviour who is able to bring us as His body, safely to our destination.

Knowing Jesus better is the key to walking in a way that honours God and takes away the need to be in control. It brings unity and connection in the Body of Christ. Jesus is the head and we all follow Him.

Amen.

Overseer Riikka KuronenRiikka,
Children’s Pastor

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