Leading with love and Jesus


Ephesians 3: 10-11, “10 God’s purpose in all this was to use the church to display his wisdom in its rich variety to all the unseen rulers and authorities in the heavenly places. 11 This was his eternal plan, which he carried out through Christ Jesus our Lord.” – NLT

2023 ended with many of us engaging in the Christmas season. This is a time of remembering that we love and serve a God who is willing to become one of us and suffer for us. The God of all creation was willing to participate on this earth with us and, within the incarnation, made a way for us to participate in a life of love and mercy with Himself. As we participate in this life of love with a God who spared no expense to be with us, we are then encouraged to share that same loving fellowship with other people. This is how and why the church, the body of Christ, was built.

As we embark on 2024, I am prayerful that the Jesus we know will become known to others and we will be found by those who meet him as people who are leading with love. Because of the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus, God wants all people to understand the mystery of mankind’s redemption. Every human being has been given the opportunity to know the savior of the world, and it should be our hearts’ desire and passion to display that grace-filled salvation with them.

The church should be a place in which the broken, lost, hurting, and lonely are finding a loving and forgiving God who transforms them into something new. This new person should find themselves attracting attention, and for good reasons not bad ones. As a person comes to know this love and forgiveness they become like a beacon of hope and love to those who are also seeking the restoration power found within Christ Jesus. If we are leading with love, every day, there should be no doubt that Jesus is leading our lives into something new.

Becoming more like Jesus isn’t an overnight event, even after we’re born again. No, it’s a lifelong struggle. We grudgingly give up ourselves a bit at a time. We want God to make us more like Jesus up to the very moment we leave this earth. When our physical life is lost, then our true, authentic life will begin. May we become people who are leading with love in 2024!

The writer is the pastor for Maplewood and DeGraff United Methodist Churches.

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