A good portion of my time is often spent with younger leaders who are experiencing some sort of difficult situation in their life or ministry. I try to help these brothers grow through the adverse circumstances of life to become more effective in their work for the Lord and to become even better leaders. The only way I can do this, though, is by showing them Jesus.

 

For example, several months ago one of our leaders called to tell me about a problem with which he was dealing. This particular leader had spent several years training two brothers, discipling and entrusting them with a great amount of responsibility in the work. One day, unexpectedly, they walked away from the work and joined another organization. Not only was he upset over the situation, but also very discouraged, having lost two people he deeply cared about.

As I spoke with him over the phone he said, “I wish they at least would have told me a few weeks earlier, so that I could have made arrangements for others to take over their responsibilities.” He continued to express his disappointment with a saddened heart. I asked him if he knew the reason why these brothers left. He said, “The truth of the matter is the other organization offered them a lot of money and material benefits, and that became the reason for their leaving.”

 

Of course, the whole reason this leader called me in the first place was to hear what I thought his next step should be. Instead of telling him “do this” or “do that,” I asked him to think with me about how Jesus would respond had He been in this situation.

Together we recalled certain passages of Scripture, remembering that it was Jesus who said, “Bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you. If someone strikes you on one cheek, turn to him the other also. If someone takes your cloak, do not stop him from taking your tunic. Give to everyone who asks you, and if anyone takes what belongs to you, do not demand it back” (Luke 6:28–30,
 NIV).

 

It was soon clear how Jesus would respond. This leader decided to write a letter to the head of the organization the men had joined and say all the good things he could about the two brothers who had left him. He blessed that ministry and the two brothers, promising to pray for them as they continued to serve the Lord.

 

It is in responding like this, in a way that mirrors Christ, that lives are built. We all desire to become mature Christians and to be used by God. And we all have difficulties in our life as well. What we must see is that the two – maturity and difficulty – are linked by God to produce good in us, to the praise of the Father!

 

Just as Jesus used the events that surrounded His life on earth to teach and prepare His disciples, so too He desires for us to receive His teaching and become like Him through the events of our lives.  As God brings various circumstances and we learn to respond as Jesus would, we are transformed into the image of Christ.

 

We must keep in mind that this is a continual, daily process; none of us is fashioned into the image of Christ overnight.  It takes years and many situations, but as you continue to choose to reflect Jesus in every situation, He will transform you to live this life pleasing to Him, bringing Him glory.