This first appeared in our January 2021 newsletter. It has been adapted for this platform and a wider audience.
2020 was the year of the way of Jesus. We kicked off the year with a clever sermon series, an idea proposed to me by one of my pastor friends: Church 20/20. The idea being a play on clear eyesight, but with a focus on seeing the mission of the church clearly. In those opening sermons, I laid out what I believed was the mission of the church. I summed up that mission by using what scholar Scot McKnight calls the Jesus Creed, Mark 12:29-34. The greatest commandment, to love God and love others. I've come to talk about following the Jesus Creed with a common phrase—living the way of Jesus—a phrase that was inspired by Eugene Peterson. The way of Jesus is about a path that guides us through life.
I then set out over the remainder of the year to think about life on the way of Jesus. We spent a lot of time studying the Sermon on the Mount. Possibly the clearest expression of the way of Jesus we have in the Bible. We also worked through the book of Revelation. A book that gives us a behind the scenes look at the world, unpacking the way of Jesus from a different perspective and challenging us to remain faithful in our allegiance to Jesus in the face of the dragon, his beasts, and Babylon. Through all of this work, I set out to share what I believe is the call of the Christian faith, to follow Jesus in all of life, regardless of the consequence.
As we begin a new year, the way of Jesus continues to guide us. I don’t plan to move away from using this phrase. Instead, I hope that it becomes central to how we think about our life; I hope that it becomes second nature for us to consider the way of Jesus as we make day to day choices.
We start to do this is through a life of spiritual formation. Another word for this is discipleship, but spiritual formation better captures the idea. Spiritual formation is about being formed into the likeness of Jesus. How do we do this? By living the way of Jesus. Spiritual formation is about living a life with intention, living with a proactive, rather than reactive, mindset.
As we start 2021, my challenge to you is that you consider how you live. Are you proactive, or reactive? Are you proactive in living the way of Jesus? Allegiance start with living with intention, and we only stay on the road if we take control and drive. May 2021 be the year we take control!