Why do we do the things we do? We need to look inside ourselves using the lens of Scripture and the Spirit.
5 The purposes of a person’s heart are deep waters, but one who has insight draws them out.
A few days ago, I wrote out what I call a Rite of Passage for myself. Because of my role as husband, father, and minister, I tailored it for leadership, but it can easily be tweaked for whatever role in which a person finds himself/herself. Alright, guys, here goes:
Rite of Passage For All Men
Who Follow Jesus
- I must recognize and acknowledge that I am not the center of the universe. God is. In fact, “I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. This life I live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loves me and gave Himself for me.” Galatians 2:20
- I have responsibilities beyond myself. Everything I do affects someone, therefore I have a responsibility to lead. “Whoever heeds discipline shows the way to life, but whoever ignores correction leads others astray.” Proverbs 10:17
- Putting my faith in Jesus Christ and walking with Him daily enhances my ability to lead in the best way. In walking with Christ I become more like Him, which makes me godly, which in turn makes me a better leader. “Now may the God of peace, who through the blood of the eternal covenant brought back from the dead our Lord Jesus, that great Shepherd of the sheep, equip you with everything good for [leading and] doing His will, and may He work in us what is pleasing to Him, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen.”
- In order to follow Christ, I must always be in control of my mind and body. I must always have my mind sharp and my body conditioned so that I am ready and able to serve in any capacity I am asked. “Don’t be drunk with wine, which leads to [an ungodly life and destruction]. Instead, be [continuously] filled with the Spirit. Ephesians 5:18
- Building others up in love is essential, so I will choose only kind words and phrases that build security and confidence in them. “Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouth, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.” “Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other just as in Christ God forgave you.” Ephesians 4:29, 32
- I choose to see even my adversaries as potential brothers and sisters in Christ and will do whatever it takes (as led by the Spirit) to win them to Christ. “You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be children of your Father in heaven.” Matthew 5:43-45a
- I take my relationship with Jesus as seriously as He does with me. I will do whatever it takes to have a personal time with the LORD everyday. I will read His Word, Talk to Him, listen to Him, and then obey Him. “Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house and went off to a solitary place, where he prayed.”Mark 1:35 Jesus’ Prayer Life
- I will treat every woman as I would my sister in Christ with respect for her body, her mind, and her soul. “Likewise, husbands [men], live with your wives [all women] in an understanding way, showing honor to the woman as the weaker vessel [like fine china or a delicate instrument that is finely tuned], since they are heirs with you of the grace of life, so that your prayers may not be hindered. 1 Peter 3:7
- I will treat older men (10+ years) with respect and deferment, younger men (10+ years) as sons in Christ, and my friends as those for which I would die. “Teach the older men to be temperate, worthy of respect, self-controlled, and sound in faith, in love and in endurance.” “Similarly, encourage the young men to be self-controlled.” “In everything set them an example by doing what is good. In your teaching show integrity, seriousness and soundness of speech that cannot be condemned,” Titus 2:2, 6-8
- I must forgive even as Christ has forgiven me: My father or mother, my sister or brother, a relative, a former boss or partner, classmate, teammate, anyone who has hurt me or betrayed me, I will forgive and bless—daily, if need be—until I mean it! Then, and only then, will I have victory over the hurt, and I will experience God’s love and peace and favor. I will also be a lot like Jesus! “Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you.” Colossians 3:13
This covenant I have made for myself is one that I intend to live out everyday. I pray that you will adopt it (or one like it) and strive to live it out everyday in your life.
Abba, I pray for my readers that You will instill in them the desire and determination to live righteously according to Your Spirit within them. May they prosper even as their souls prosper; may their health be according to Your will for their lives–use even bad health to place them in situations to further the Gospel! LORD, we place ourselves in Your capable hands. Use us as You will. Amen.