I could easily list 100+ things I have learned from Jesus through the years, but in the interest of time, let’s narrow this down to the top five as a countdown:
#5 – He appreciates my personality with a deep desire to shape my character to be more like his. Let’s face it, sometimes I am a quirky person (maybe you are, too?) Throughout the Gospels we see Jesus demonstrating incredible patience with various personalities while calling someone to a higher level of attitude and actions. At one point, when Peter hastily chops the ear off a soldier in the Garden of Gethsemane, Jesus, knowing his impulsive nature, firmly states, “No more of this!” (Luke 22:50-51). I have sensed that tone or phrase from Jesus on occasion, too (and that’s a good thing!)
#4 – He gently invites me along on the journey. Matthew 11:29 reveals Jesus as gentle and humble in heart, the only two words he uses to describe himself. In verse 28 he invites me to come to him when I am weary, tired, or burdened and promises rest. But as a gentleman, I think Jesus waits for me to reciprocate the invitation by asking him into my everyday life rather than pushing his way in.
#3 – He longs to shepherd me like a lamb in a meadow, but that won’t happen if I am a stubborn heifer. Hosea 4:16 is an obscure but powerful verse. Years ago, I personalized it so I could grasp the seriousness of this choice. Originally written as “The Israelites” this is what it looks like in the first person: “Connie is stubborn, she is like a stubborn heifer, how then can I shepherd her like a lamb in the meadow?” When I see this as a question, raised by the Lord, my heart cries out, “Oh no, Lord! I don’t want to be a stubborn heifer! I want to be a lamb in the meadow so I may be shepherded by you.”
#2 – He is a good, good shepherd, and I love hearing his voice. Read John 10:1-18 for some beautiful imagery on this consideration.
#1 – I can take him at his Word! When he says, “Never will I leave you, nor forsake you” he means it! When he shares “he is my helper” he ever will be! When he states, “I am the way, the truth and the life” he is! Or when he declares, “I came so they can have real and eternal life, more and better life than they ever dreamed of” it’s true! (Hebrews 13:5-6, Deuteronomy 31:6, Psalm 118:6-7, John 14:6, and John 10:10).
So now, if you invert the above you will discover the most important thing I have learned: I need to study his Word, to discern how to hear his voice, so I can follow him closely as he gently shepherds me along the beautiful journey of becoming more like him.