I believe that God called me to help people live, love, and lead like Jesus. Jesus commanded his followers to “make disciples” (Matthew 28:19). A disciple is someone who is a learner or apprentice of another person. Christians are to learn from Jesus to become like Jesus. This is why I define a disciple as someone who lives, loves, and leads like Jesus.
First, we have to learn to live like Jesus lives. If we don’t do this first, our loving and leading will become disordered or destructive. Living like Jesus means living in relationship with God. It’s only when we are living in close relationship with God that can we learn to love like Jesus. Living in God’s presence every day transforms us into truly loving people. As we become people who love like Jesus, we begin to lead others along the same path that we have traveled.
Each of the sections below explains a little more about how to live, love, and lead like Jesus.
Live like Jesus
Jesus lived in perfect relationship with God the Father. He derived his life from this relationship. He once said, “My food is to do the will of him who sent me and to accomplish his work” (John 4:34). Jesus maintained this relationship with God the Father through a life of prayer, meditation on God’s Word, and submission to the Holy Spirit.
A disciplined life of prayer is essential to being in the Father’s transforming presence. Sometimes the word “discipline” expresses what we must do – our duty. When approached this way, discipline becomes drudgery and it sucks the energy out of life. Have you ever felt like this?
Jesus lived a different kind of discipline. For Jesus, his discipline was purposeful but not forced. It was a delight, not a drudgery. Jesus realized that his time with the Father is what energized his life. It’s what made him the happiest, most joyful, most loving person ever. Even in the midst of great pain and sorrow, Jesus maintained his joy. Do you want this kind of life?
The heartbeat of Christ-like life is experiencing the transforming love of God. It all starts by being in God’s presence and living in his love. As the Holy Spirit applies God’s love to our hearts, we are transformed. Our hearts are the very core of who we are, so we become new people from the inside out – we begin to love like Jesus.
In this the love of God was made manifest among us, that God sent his only Son into the world, so that we might live through him. . . We love because he first loved us.
John 4:9 & 19
Love like Jesus
Jesus loved people with deep love. He wasn’t concerned with appearances or religious duty. “The Son of Man has come eating and drinking, and you say, ‘Look at him! A glutton and a drunkard, a friend of tax collectors and sinners!’” (Luke 7:34). He welcomed the outcasts, touched the unclean, blessed foreigners, and forgave sinners. He welcomed everyone who wanted to know and love God – people who were willing to admit their need for forgiveness.
Jesus loves all who follow him as if they are his own family:
And stretching out his hand toward his disciples, he said, “Here are my mother and my brothers! For whoever does the will of my Father in heaven is my brother and sister and mother.
As we become more like Jesus, our love for people grows. We desire to help them carry the burdens that they cannot carry themselves. We fight for justice, we offer mercy, and we honor every human as someone made in the image of God. Our faith in Jesus leads us to love others, because as we do this we are also loving him.
“For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me.” . . . “And the King will answer them, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.”
Matthew 25:35-36 & 40
Lead like Jesus
The church is built on a command of Jesus commonly called the Great Commission:
And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”
A disciple is someone who lives as Jesus would live. Jesus led his disciples to God the Father. He taught them how to have a close relationship with God; how to rely on the Holy Spirit; and how to love their neighbor as themselves. In short, he taught them how he would live.
Jesus was a leader, and all his followers are called to lead others to him. We lead them to forgiveness through Jesus’ blood. We lead them to live in the Father’s love and to love God in return. We lead them to love others like Jesus. A true disciple of Jesus is someone who lives, loves, and leads like Jesus.
“You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength”. . . “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” There is no other commandment greater than these.