August, 2014

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Continuous Learning and Growth: Lessons from Jesus

Jesus worked on His personal development on a consistent basis. At the age of 12, Jesus left behind his parents who had come to Jerusalem to celebrate the Passover. “After three days they found him in the temple courts, sitting among the teachers, listening to them and asking them questions. Everyone who heard him was amazed at his understanding and his answers.” (Luke 2: 46 – 47) Here is a twelve-year-old boy debating with religious scholars. While he was at the peak of his ministry, he used to withdraw and spend time in solitude to think, pray, and meditate (Luke 5: 16).

One of Jesus’ criticisms against the Pharisees was that they were wrong because they didn’t know the Scriptures (Matthew 22: 29). Since he was grown in every aspects of his life, he was well equipped. Below are some of his qualities that clearly demonstrate that he was a well-grown and matured leader.

Jesus:

1. Was able to provide readily available answers to those who tried to trap him, and discerned and connected dots. Jesus avoided multitudes of traps his enemies put in front of him because he was wise and discerning. A good example is when some proxies of the Pharisees approached Jesus and flattered him with the hope to cause him make a mistake that might alienate him against the Roman Empire (Mark 12: 13 – 17). They sent their proxies to Jesus in order “to catch him in his words”. They flattered him and said, “Teacher, we know that you are a man of integrity. You aren’t swayed by others, because you pay no attention to who they are; but you teach the way of God in accordance with the truth. Is it right to pay the imperial tax to Caesar or not? Should we pay or shouldn’t we?” But Jesus didn’t buy their flattery nor fall into their trap. Knowing their disingenuousness he replied, “Why are you trying to trap me?” Then he quickly asked them to bring him a denarius and asked them, “Whose image is this? And whose inscription?” They replied “Caesar’s.” Then he replied, “Give back to Caesar what is Caesar’s and to God what is God’s.” Here we can easily appreciate how Jesus discerned their hypocrisy and their dishonest intention to trap him. Rather than playing their game using their own rules, he declined. Rather than answering their YES or NO question and getting in trapped, he talked about a principle and left them make their own choice.

2. Never had been sick or weak physically. There are no instances in the Bible where it says Jesus was tired, bored, weak, sick, and so on. He must have taken care of his body.

3. Was emotionally and socially healthy– Jesus could be able to read his people’s emotion. He knew when they were feeling tired, starved, weak, and when they were needing his help. He cried, sympathized, and enjoyed life with others by attending weddings and social gatherings (John 2; Mark 2).

4. Grown spiritually and always alert where he communicated with his Father harmoniously, and followed the direction of the Holy Spirit accurately. Regardless of his busy schedule, he excused himself on a daily basis to pray, meditate, and reflect.

5. Was so mature and above reproaches that he never judged others. He said, “Do not judge, or you too will be judged. For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.” (Matthew 7: 1 – 2) Once, some self-righteous Teachers and Pharisees brought a woman caught in adultery, and asked him to authorize them to stone her by citing the law of Moses. He rather suggested, “Let any one of you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her.” (John 8: 7 – 8) Knowing that they too are sinners, they couldn’t lift their hands. None of them dared to throw a stone first. They left both Jesus and the lady one by one. When Jesus saw that none of them could be able to condemn her, he finally said to the lady, “Then neither do I condemn you.” (John 8: 7 – 11).

6. Asked and commanded, and got what he wanted. Jesus said, “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you.” (Matthew 7: 7) When we grow, we understand that we are asking, seeking, and knocking away from getting what we want. We become aware of our privileges. If there are things we have been desiring but haven’t got them, it may be because we haven’t yet reached the growth level that could have positioned us to understand our privileges and the power we have to just demand. Jesus asked and commanded, and got whatever he wanted. He even commanded the storm, fig tree, and evil spirits…

7. Was in a constant state of thankfulness. Jesus lived a grateful life. He expressed his gratitude on a consistent basis regardless of the challenges he was facing. Jesus was thankful for so many things (Matthew 14: 19, Luke 10: 21, & John 11: 41). He also lived a praiseful life. Matthew recorded an instance where Jesus sang a hymn with his disciples (Matthew 26: 30).

Taken from “The 9 Cardinal Building Blocks for Continued Success in Leadership” Pages 173/174.