Jesus says the most important commandment is to love God, our neighbors and ourselves. Jesus certainly demonstrated this in his life. He rhythmically prayed to, listened to and obeyed his Father. He lives in community with the 12, 72 and many others, many who functioned as part of his missional family. And Jesus shared the love of God in word and deed with the lost, least and last of his people.
We refer to these as the UP, IN and OUT of Jesus’ life:
UP – Jesus’ relationship with his Father.
IN – Jesus’ relationship with his extended family (some who believed in him and some that didn’t!).
OUT – Jesus’ relationship to the hurting world around him on his Father’s behalf.
Since our calling as Christians is to imitate the life and ministry of Jesus, then it helps us to ask how we’re doing in each of these areas of our own lives. Take a moment and give yourself a score (1-10, but you can’t choose 5!) in each of the three areas, then celebrate your highest score and reflect on how you might grow in your area of weakness.
- Most people will find they are more comfortable in 1 or 2 areas and feel challenged in another area. Nobody is naturally gifted to be good in all 3.
- Let these scores clue you in to the strengths you bring to the community of God. Where you are comfortable there will be others who struggle and vice versa. Find others to help you grow in the area you struggle.
- Leaders define culture, so consider how the group you lead may reflect your strength/weakness.
- We’re called to imitate the life of Jesus, so we should be careful not to excuse ourselves from growing in an area just because it’s uncomfortable.
- For those of you struggle particularly in the OUT dimension of your life, read up on the Person of Peace strategy found in the Octagon Lifeshape (Building a Discipling Culture, Breen & Cockram).