As leaders it’s vitally important that we encourage people to be like Jesus and not try to make them “like us”. God has created each person as He likes and gifted each one uniquely and differently. This means that each and every person is not only a one-of-a-kind but created with intention and purpose. And that purpose is not to be like you or me but like Christ. God is not into making clones: No clones allowed.
Be careful of putting demands on people that God doesn’t place on them. As leaders we push people toward Christ, not pull them toward us. We compel people with Christ, the real Christ, not our version of Him. People become like Christ when we lift Him up and not ourselves. People don’t want to hear or see us; they want and need to see Christ. As the Greeks said in this verse: “Sirs, we would see Jesus.” (John 12:21)
When Jesus was dealing with “sinners”, His command was simply “go and sin no more”. Jesus never gave them a list of things to do to feel or become more spiritual. He simply told them to go and live life to the glory of God. Jesus’ way of life was far beyond a spiritual discipline. Jesus is the only standard by which any of us should measure. Just because someone doesn’t do life with God the same as I do, does’t mean they are not right with God. As a leader, the goal is not that everyone become like you but that everyone would be like Christ. And Jesus was more concerned about loving God and loving others; serving them and modeling a relationship with His Father than the rues of the Pharisees.
Our goal as a Christian leader needs to be seeing Christ formed in those around us. Yes Jesus had “spiritual disciplines” which He did consistently, but did Jesus ever give any other other “discipline” outside of loving God with our heart, soul, mind and strength or neighbor as ourselves? Sure the disciples prayed and went to temple and they knew Torah but these were not requirements to following Him. These were not even things that made His disciples, His disciples. In fact, several of the “disciples” failed out of the religious school and were sent back home. Jesus didn’t call His disciples to follow Him into a routine of spiritual disciples. Rather He introduced them to routinely seeing God at work among them. His call/command was to follow Him and He would make them what they were meant to be, i.e. “Fishers of Men”. Jesus will do the same with our followers but we must trust God is making them and not we ourselves.
There is liberty that comes from obedience. Helping others know and understand the word of God is part of our role as a Christian leader. However, we are not to weigh people down with this kind of “yoke”. Jesus told people to take up His yoke as opposed to the yoke of the Pharisees because His yoke was “easy and light”. (Matthew 11:28-30) What did Jesus mean by this? I believe His intention was relationship. As they walked with Him, they would learn. They would grow in relationship not in or by rules. They would become like Him and not like the Pharisees. They would hence know God instead of trying to become god.
Helping people grow in love and wisdom is better than teaching a set of dogmatic rules. In his letter to the church at Corinth, Paul admonishes them to do all things with love, otherwise it benefits them nothing (1 Corinthians 13). Presenting truth can be done without demanding people that people learn it or apply it the way you do. Our opinions as leaders may be important but we should never become so caught in them that we forget to demonstrate grace along with “truth”. Christ has commissioned us to make disciples but this is not the same as making “clones”. God is not looking for clones or even “converts”. He is looking for “little” Christs.