For I have given you an example, that you should do as I have done to you. (John 13:15)
He Showed Them How To Live
Jesus saw to it that His disciples learned His way of living with God and man. He recognized that it was not enough just to get people into His spiritual communion. His disciples needed to know how His experience was to be maintained and shared if it was to be perpetuated in evangelism. Of course, in a technical sense, life proceeds action, but in a thoroughly practical point of view, we live by what we do. We must breathe, eat, exercise, and carry on work normally if we are to grow. Where these functions of the body are neglected, life will cease to be. That is why the effort of Jesus to get across to His followers the secrets of His spiritual influence needs to be considered as a deliberate course of His master strategy. He knew what was important.
The Principle in Focus
The method of Jesus here was more than a continuous sermon; it was an object lesson as well. This was the secret of His influence in teaching. He did not ask anyone to do or be anything which first He had not demonstrated in His own life, thereby not only proving its workability, but also its relevance to His mission in life. And this He was able to do because He was constantly with His disciples. His training classes were never dismissed. Everything which He said and did was a personal lesson in reality, and since the disciples were there to notice it, they were learning practically every moment of their waking day.
How else will His way ever be learned? It is good to tell people what we mean, but it is infinitely better to show them. People are looking for a demonstration, not an explanation.
The Principle Applied Today
When it is all boiled down, those of us who are seeking to train people must be prepared to have them follow us, even as we follow Christ (1 Cor. 11:1). We are the exhibit (Phil. 3:17 f.; 1 Thess. 2:7,8; 2 Tim. 1:13). They will do those things which they hear and see in us (Phil. 4:9). Given time, it is possible through this kind of leadership to impart our way of living to those who are constantly with us.
We must take this truth to our lives. There can be no shirking or evading of our personal responsibility to show the way to those we are training, and this revelation must include the practical outworking in life of the deeper realities of the Spirit. This is the Master's method, and nothing else will ever suffice to train others to do His work.
It makes us vulnerable, of course. We are not perfect like our Lord, and those persons to whom we open our lives will come to see our many shortcomings. But let them also see a readiness to confess our sins when we understand the error of our way. Let them hear us apologize to those we have wronged. Our weaknesses need not impair discipleship when shining through them is a transparent sincerity to follow Christ.
Yet, as we know, mere knowledge is not enough. There comes a time for action. To disregard this privilege can nullify all that has been acquired in the process of learning. Indeed, knowledge unapplied to living can become a stumbling-stone to further truth. No one better understood this than the Master. He was training men to do a job, and when they knew enough to get started, He saw to it that they did something about it. The application of this principle is so pronounced that it needs to be considered as another part of His strategy of conquest through trained and spiritually alert men.
Thanks for reading this far my friends! May God continue to bless you and keep you in Jesus' mighty name! JESUS LOVES YOU AND SO DO I!!!...:-). Stay tuned for the next post my friends! This is such a great topic to talk and share about!...:-).