Simon Says: Do What Jesus Says!
One of my favorite childhood games was “Simon Says.” The leader has so much fun telling people to do silly things: hop on one leg, pat their heads and stomachs at the same time, or turn around ten times just because “Simon said.”
However, the greatest part of the game was when the leader could catch people off guard. In a hasty moment, they would do something without Simon’s permission and have to leave the game. The person who listened carefully and only did what Simon said won the game.
I wonder what your life and mine would look like if we would only do what Jesus says.
As I look at the world today, I long for people who would go beyond saying they follow Jesus to actually doing what He says. I want to do what He says and Scripture says we can!
In, II Peter 1:3 Peter – a.k.a. Simon – tells us we have everything we need to live a life that is right with God through our knowledge of Him. We have to know what He says!
For example, look at what Jesus said in Mark 12:30-31:
“Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength. The second is this; ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’”
Imagine how following His commandment to love would impact your life and leadership!
You might be thinking… What does loving God have to do with how you live your life? The answer is EVERYTHING. You will only do what Jesus says if you love God.
Scriptures teach us that obedience comes from love. If you are a parent, you know you can get compliance from your children through the fear of lost privileges or other punishment. But obedience is much different than compliance. Obedience comes from love and will happen even when you are not there to demand it.
Maybe the missing piece to loving God is knowing that He loved you first. In fact, He loves you like crazy – or as I say to those I love – to the moon and back to infinity! When you get that someone loves you like that, without any strings, you can't help but love them.
God’s love for you is like no other relationship you can imagine. Nothing you have done – or ever will do – will change how He loves you. When you truly get the simplicity of this understanding, you will be different, and being different causes you to do differently. Being always comes before doing, and that’s the thing about loving God. It is in the loving where our “being” changes. Knowing God loves you and then you loving Him back changes your perspective on everything. You see leadership, people and work from this new perspective, and your life is no longer about you.
Scripture says that God is love and we are reminded that we are to be imitators of God (Ephesians 5:1). So loving God with all your heart, soul, mind and strength changes your core to love. That translates into a different life and a different leader.
As a follower of Jesus, loving others is not an option. It doesn't matter what others do, how you have been hurt, or how long you have been waiting for them to love you back. It’s not about you.
When people are acting in hurtful ways, our response as a follower of Jesus is concern, because we know something is wrong that is causing this behavior. Your job is to love. You love them enough to help them get from where they are to where God would have them go. It is not usually easy, but love doesn't give up. It is true – only by love is love awakened.
You and I get to be dispensers of love and grace, and there is no timetable. The first description of love in I Corinthians 13 is “patient.” God doesn't “do” love, He “is” love. And we have His Spirit within us so we can become love, too. Becoming love is an awesome agenda for your life.
Sometimes people think that mentioning love and leadership in the same sentence is inconsistent. I disagree. In fact, it is because of love that you can become a great leader. Whether their families or their organizations, leaders change the lives of those they influence when they love them by:
- serving them,
- helping them develop,
- holding them accountable while extending grace and forgiveness,
- and modeling no gaps in what they say and do.
Leaders who love their mission inspire others to love it, too. Leaders who love the impact of their organization will equip others for more impact. Leaders who love change the world by bringing God’s Kingdom to earth.
The world has really messed up how to understand this phrase in Scripture. Why would Jesus say we have to love ourselves? It sounds selfish, conceited, and egotistical to the world.
Jesus knew that if you could really understand “how deep, and wide and high and long the love of God” (Ephesians 3) is for you, you would know how valuable you are. His great love for you was demonstrated by the gift of Jesus on the cross. Thanks to Jesus, you and I can love ourselves knowing we have been returned to the Father and His original plan for us to be created in His image.
Have you ever been around someone who doesn't love himself or herself? It is not fun. They are negative about almost everything, but especially other people. Jesus knew that we can’t love others before we love ourselves. We can't give away what we don't have.
The Greatest Win of All
So what if you did what Jesus said in Mark 12:30-31?
- How would your life and leadership change if you really did love God with all your heart, soul, mind and strength?
- What if you really loved others without strings, and loved yourself because you understand your great value to God?
- What if we would just do what Jesus said?
It seems to me just doing what Jesus said would be the greatest “win” of all! For only when we put our old, faulty behaviors behind us – choosing to do as He says instead – will we experience all the greatness God has in store.
“Since, then, we do not have the excuse of ignorance, everything—and I do mean everything—connected with that old way of life has to go. It’s rotten through and through. Get rid of it! And then take on an entirely new way of life—a God-fashioned life, a life renewed from the inside and working itself into your conduct as God accurately reproduces his character in you." Ephesians 4:21-24 (The Message)
So will His words be words you live by today? Will you allow His words to change your life and your leadership?
Written by: Phyllis Hennecy Hendry