Devotionals For Leaders: No Clones Allowed

no clones allowed

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.


Ash Wednesday Thoughts, February 18 2015

thoughts ash wednesday header

9And He also told this parable to some people who trusted in themselves that they were righteous, and viewed others with contempt:

 10“Two men went up into the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector.

 11“The Pharisee stood and was praying this to himself: ‘God, I thank You that I am not like other people: swindlers, unjust, adulterers, or even like this tax collector.

 12‘I fast twice a week; I pay tithes of all that I get.’

 13“But the tax collector, standing some distance away, was even unwilling to lift up his eyes to heaven, but was beating his breast, saying, ‘God, be merciful to me, the sinner!’

 14“I tell you, this man went to his house justified rather than the other; for everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, but he who humbles himself will be exalted.” Luke 18:9-14

As I prepared for the Ash Wednesday service, here a few things that popped into my head as I read this passage for tonight’s reflection.

God doesn’t compare us to others.

In an attempt to be spiritual, I can become involved in the comparison game. What I have to remember is that I am not in competition with anyone trying to achieve some status that will please God. God is not in heaven measuring me up against anyone other than His Son. Practices like Lent exist to remind me of the love and sacrifice of Christ, not to prove my worthiness of His love or attention.

Spirituality is not something I obtain.

Attending church or sharing in practices like Lent do make me more “spiritual”. I partake in these things because I am spiritual and I have a need to connect with God. Spiritual disciplines and practices help me to become aware of my Creator and allow me to connect with Him, reviving my soul which in essence is “spiritual”. I don’t spiritual practices to learn to “breathe”; I do them to breathe deeply.

Doing all the right things doesn’t make me right.

In a world where being right is the epitome of success and satisfaction, this passage reminds me once again that I can be “right” do “good” and still come short of God’s glory. God is not happiest when I am right or better than another. God is happy when I delight myself in His great love for me believing that He loves me in spite of who I am. God is happy when one sinner repents and comes “home”. God is happy when one, even though sinful and wrong, looks to Him for forgiveness and reaches out to their Heavenly Father for a hug. I become the “right”eousness of God because of what Christ has done, not being right.

He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him. 2 Corinthians 5:21

How has God spoken to you about Ash Wednesday or thoughts on Lent?