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Leadership: The Model, The Means & The Message

When I was 16, my dad decided to re-model our unfinished basement.  At the time it was little more than outside walls and concrete, but my dad had a vision to turn this cold, poorly lit and unwelcoming dungeon into the vibrant  hub of our social activity; complete with TV space, a bar, pool table, pin-ball machine, juke-box, table tennis, library, weight room, bath room and work space.

It was a daunting task so my dad blueprinted what he envisioned, recruited some manpower (my brother and I) and started spreading the news.  My dad was ecstatic about the possibilities; we were skeptical.  Building a dream basement seamed possible for professionals, but we were amateurs who couldn’t even get up for school on time.  My dad, however, was relentless, in spite of our quarrels and doubts.  From start to finish he faithfully followed the blueprint as his model, whole-heartedly trusted his recruits as his means to completion and joyously communicated the message that our basement was going to be the place to be.  He was right.  His model guided us, he empowered us, his message motivated us and we ended up having the basement we dreamed of.

It turns out that the same principles are true for life.  If we are going to live a God-honoring life, leave a worth-while legacy and impact the world for Jesus we need to follow the right model, trust in the right means and declare the right message.  It’s no surprise that the model, the means and the message for life are all found in Jesus Christ.  What is surprising is how few people live this out practically.

In order to be a people who effectively live to the glory of God we must be a people who follow the example of Jesus’ life as our model, trust in the power of Jesus’ death and resurrection as our means and declare the supremacy of Jesus as our message.

The Model

First, Jesus’ perfect, moral life is our only trustworthy example; the only model worth following after.  Just as a detailed set of blueprints gave my dad a model for building our basement, so too does Jesus’ life give us a model for building our lives.  Since Jesus never sinned, his life gives us the flawless example of what it looks like to resist temptation, confront sin, obey God and make an eternal difference in the world. If you’re looking for the right person to follow, you can’t find a better model than Jesus.  (Hebrews 12:1-2, Hebrews 4:15, Philippians 2:5-11)

The Means

Second, Jesus’ death and resurrection are the means to following him. This is where most people fail.  Most people who set the high standard of Jesus’ life as their example fail to trust in Jesus’ death and resurrection as their power to do so, relying on the recesses of their own strength. The result is frustration and despair as we find out time and again that we will never live up to the quality of Jesus’ perfect, moral capacity on our own merit.  (Romans 3:23)

This is because the only means to live a life patterned after Jesus is the power of God flowing from the cross. This is our only means to a life that won’t fall apart at the judgment seat of Christ.  Jesus’ death forgives our sins.  Jesus’ resurrection sets us free to live for God. Just as the tools, supplies and manpower were my dad’s means to completing our basement, so too are Jesus’ death and resurrection our means for following him in the power of the Holy Spirit to the glory of God. (1 Peter 3:18, John 8:36, Acts 1:8)

The Message

Lastly, our message must be that Jesus is Lord, God, King and Christ.  He is ruling and reinging at the right hand of the throne of God over all races, religions, languages and nations.  He holds the universe together.  When he is revealed in glory every person who has ever been created will bow to him as King of kings and Lord of lords. He is the One who paid the penalty for our sins.  He is the One who took God’s wrath for sinners.  He is the One who rescues sinners from hell.  He is central, pre-imanent, prominent and supreme.  As such, Jesus is worthyof our worship, obedience, love, affection, attention and allegiance.  He’s worthy to be followed, exalted and praised.  This is the message that brings hope.  This is the message that brings life. This is the message that changes lives. (Colossians 1:15-17, Hebrews 1:1-3, Philippians 2:5-11) How much more impactful would your life be if you not only followed Jesus’ example, but trusted in his work and declared his message?

From start to finish we must faithfully follow Jesus’ as our model, whole-heartedly trust in his death and resurrection as our means and joyously communicate the message that Jesus is the Lord, who is worthy of all we are, all we have and all we do.  Only in this way can we truly impact the world for Jesus Christ. (Matthew 28:16-20

Question: In what ways have you experienced the power of Jesus’ work in your life? You can leave a comment by clicking here.

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  1. February 20, 2012 at 5:33 AM

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