1. LAW & GRACE
“It is not always black and white – there is a gray area” – Moses Sowale
“Do not think that I came to destroy the Law or the Prophets. I did not come to destroy but to fulfill.” – Matthew 5:17-20 New King James Version (NKJV)
In today’s world many have been taught to accept and obey the law for what it is. Doing so has lead us, as a society, to allow heinous and destructive things from our governments and institutions. We can learn from Jesus in this respect that society’s laws are not always graceful and can be oppressive to different groups of people. We must learn to practice grace in our lives and question laws instilled by man that are oppressive in any regard.
2. GOOD NEWS TO THE POOR
“A nation’s greatness is measured by how it treats its weakest members.” – Mahatma Gandhi
“The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me, Because He has anointed Me To preach the gospel to the poor; He has sent Me [a]to heal the brokenhearted, To proclaim liberty to the captives And recovery of sight to the blind, To set at liberty those who are [b]oppressed;” ~ Luke 4:18 New King James Version (NKJV)
In today’s world, poverty has become a norm in our global society. We have enough resources to feed and clothe the poor, but it does not happen because of greed. What we need to remember is that a chain is only as strong as its’ weakest link. Rather than be greedy and gluttonous, we need to make sure that everyone is taken care of first. As a society, it is in our best interest to ensure the well being of each other so that we can develop and excel together as one body; humanity.
3. NO IMPOSSIBILITY
“Without faith nothing is possible, with it nothing is impossible” – Mary Macleod Bethune
So Jesus said to them, “Because of your [a]unbelief; for assuredly, I say to you, if you have faith as a mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move; and nothing will be impossible for you ~ Matthew 17:20 New King James Version (NKJV)
There are times when we can’t help but feel down and depressed about things that are happening in our lives. Maybe you believe you will never have a steady relationship, you will never get your finances together, you will never get out of your environment or are going through a hard patch in your life that seems like it is never going to come to an end. What can help us stay sane through these times is our faith. Jesus always says your faith will make you whole, even if it’s as small as a mustard seed. Exercising the bit of faith you have can change your mindframe so that you may think positively about your situation. The positive energy that you put out can lead to big changes in your life, it can lead to the movement of mountains.
4. LIVING LIFE ON PURPOSE
“The mystery of human existence lies not in just staying alive, but in finding something to live for.” ― Fyodor Dostoyevsky, The Brothers Karamazov
Jesus said to them, “My food is to do the will of Him who sent Me, and to finish His work. – John 4:34 New King James Version (NKJV)
In today’s world it is easy to live our lives as if we were on autopilot. Day by day many people go through the same routine that brings no fulfillment to their spirits. Jesus was very intentional with how he spent his life. He lived his life in purpose and his purpose was the will of God. In order to do this he had to be actively aware of how he spent his time and his actions always went hand in hand with his purpose. To live like Jesus we need to be awakened to our purpose and refuse to be satisfied with empty routine. We need to live our lives purposely every day so that we can make the best of it, not only for ourselves but for future generations.
“A great man is always willing to be little.” ― Ralph Waldo Emerson
Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus, 6 who, being in the form of God, did not consider it [a]robbery to be equal with God, 7 but [b]made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men. 8 And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross. ~ Philippians 2:5-8 New King James Version (NKJV)
“Father, if it is Your will, take this cup away from Me; nevertheless not My will, but Yours, be done.” ~Luke 22:42 New King James Version (NKJV)
As humans, we are extremely flawed. Our judgment can be clouded by many things including our limited perspectives, our emotions, and our experiences. It is important for us to remember that we are imperfect beings for even Jesus humbled himself because he knew he was a man. When we can recognize our flawed nature and are able to humble ourselves, we experience inner peace and comfort with being imperfect. Doing so will allow us to work on becoming a better version of ourselves because we are aware that our imperfections come with being human and instead of hiding or being ashamed of it we are embracing ourselves for who we are and allowing personal growth.
“The function of prayer is not to influence God, but rather to change the nature of the one who prays.” ― Søren Kierkegaard.
Now it came to pass, as He was praying in a certain place, when He ceased, that one of His disciples said to Him, “Lord, teach us to pray, as John also taught his disciples.” ~Luke 11:1
“Now it came to pass in those days that He went out to the mountain to pray, and continued all night in prayer to God.” ~Luke 6:12
When we are going through rough parts in our lives, or even satisfying times, it is valuable to be introspective. This introspection can come in various forms, be it prayer, meditation, being greatful, or even appreciation of the moment you are in. This form of meditation and prayer can be rewarding in the sense that it can influence your thinking, break the flow of anxious thoughts, alter your state of mind, and help you with gratitude and forgiveness of yourself and others.
7. CONNECTION TO THE COMMUNITY
“We are not put on this earth for ourselves, but are placed here for each other.” – Jeff Warner
When Jesus saw the crowds, he had compassion on them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd. Then he said to his disciples, “The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field.” – Matthew 9:36-38
We are living in a time when it is common for people to not know their neighbors. People have a limited amount of meaningful relationships in their lives. It is important for us to be more connected with our communities. Not only do we learn from the relationships that cultivate from this but we can also be more in touch with ourselves. When we can meet people where they are, rather than trying to be helpful to them from a distance or trying to change them, we are living like Christ. Everyone brings a different set of skills and perspectives to a community, so we need each other to push forward for change.
“Nothing strengthens authority so much as silence.” -Leonardo da Vinci
“Teacher,” they said to Jesus, “this woman was caught in the act of adultery. 5 The law of Moses says to stone her. What do you say?” 6 They were trying to trap him into saying something they could use against him, but Jesus stooped down and wrote in the dust with his finger. 7 They kept demanding an answer, so he stood up again and said, “All right, but let the one who has never sinned throw the first stone!” – John 8: 4-7 (NLT)
We live in a world full of institutions and systems that work to oppress the many for the benefit of the few. Our society is run by those who have power and wealth. In his life Jesus did not maintain the status quo and questioned authority. He was not a slave to the system. We can learn from him in the sense that we should not look to the people with power and wealth as the exemplary because the most humble of people can be the ones who are in oppressed and in poverty.
9. GUIDED BY LOVE
“It is not how much we do, but how much love we put into what we do.” – Rev. Moses Sowale
“If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. 2 If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. 3 If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast,[b] but do not have love, I gain nothing.” – 1 Corinthian 13:1-3
When we take certain actions in our lives we need to ensure that they are guided by love. Without this principle we will be selfishly doing for others, which can lead us to hold ourselves back from true blessings since what we are doing is not genuine. We must put love and passion into our actions because when we do we are really seeing the person or situation with a loving perspective that can guide us to act righteously and gracefully, and not on impulse.
“We must not only do the good thing, but the right thing.” – Rev. Moses Sowale
“And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.” ~John 8:32 New King James Version (NKJV)
When we live in the truth and righteousness we set ourselves free. Many of us try to turn away from, ignore, or conceal the truth and it can cause us to burden ourselves. When we actively live in truth with ourselves and with the people in our lives we can be completely honest and release the burdens of overthinking and affliction that come with not living in truth.
11. CLEAR AUTHORITY
“A leader is one who knows the way, goes the way, and shows the way.” – John C. Maxwell
“When Jesus had finished saying these things, the crowds were amazed at his teaching, because he taught as one who had authority, and not as their teachers of the law.” – Matthew 7:29
Many people believe that being a leader means being able to delegate and just telling people what to do. This couldn’t be further from the truth. The best leaders lead by example. The are able to demonstrate and show their leadership through the actions they take. A great leader can lead through inspiration, testimony, motivation, and empathy for those who they lead.
12. ETERNAL LIFE
“The past can’t be changed. The future is yet in your power.” – Unknown
“Do not work for the food which perishes, but for the food which endures to eternal life, which the Son of Man will give to you, for on Him the Father, God, has set His seal.” ~ John 6:27
If only for this life we have hope in Christ, we are of all people most to be pitied. ~1 Corinthians 15:19
The actions that we take today will affect the future of the world beyond our lifespan. You life is not all about today, here, and now because it is not all there is. There is something beyond here. The future includes the life of newer generations, we can’t be selfish with our actions today. We need to be mindful of what comes after us. Many people tend to say that if we were to go back in time we could change the course of history by any small change we make. Let’s keep that in mind today and create that small change that we need to make the future better for our children and their children.