Life experience is the best teacher. The people you meet, obstacles you overcome, trials you face, victories you win, and failures you suffer – all serve to shape you into the person God wants you to be. Jesus suffered everything you suffer and was shaped by it into the perfect human being. Here are five life lessons I learned from Jesus – things I wish I’d learned a lot sooner!
Five Life Lessons from Jesus
We don’t often think of Jesus being formed or shaped as a person, But he didn’t come out of the womb a fully formed adult. Jesus was born a baby in a manger.
Jesus had people in his life who taught him and nurtured him. His mother and father, for instance, would have been a big influence on his life. Village life in Nazareth, his work as a craftsman (tekton), his time on the Sea of Galilee, his wilderness experience with John the Baptist, and of course his time with his heavenly Father – all make their way into his stories and sermons.
Jesus was a constant learner. He loved to pass on what he learned. Here are five life lessons I have learned from watching Jesus.
1. Love and Accept Yourself Fully
Jesus said that the greatest command God ever gave was to love God and “love your neighbor as yourself” (Matt. 22:39). He also said, “So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets” (Matt. 7:12).
Both of these essential commands assume that you do a great job of loving yourself. In fact, you cannot wholeheartedly love another person, until you fully love and accept yourself.
The Apostle Paul said this — “Christ has set us free to live a free life. So take your stand! Never again let anyone put a harness of slavery on you” (Gal. 5:1, Msg). You are a child of the King of Kings. Go out and live like it!
You can never fully love another until you love yourself.”
2. Feed Your Soul
Jesus was in constant contact with the Father (John 8:38; 10:15, 30). He understood that he was good in this world only to the degree that he was being nourished by his heavenly Father. Apart from him, he could do nothing (John 15:5).
This is a constant and brutal struggle – to push aside the urgent for the important and essential. Your time with God is fuel for your life. Many are walking through life on fumes. Others have long ago run out of fuel, and are stranded on the side of the road.
You must daily feed your soul. Whatever it takes. Take a walk through a park. Read a book. Watch a play. Paint. Play an instrument. Write. Meditate. These are all ways you can hear from God. Whatever it takes. Find spiritual food for your soul.
3. Be Authentic
Jesus said, “You will know the truth and the truth will set you free” (John 8:32). He later called himself “the truth” (John 14:6). The two most important people you can ever truly know – Jesus and yourself. Knowing the truth about each will set you free.
You have to know yourself – who you are in Christ – only then will you be set free to live an authentic and fulfilled life. Jesus came to set you free from sin and death and give you an abundant life (John 10:10). This only comes when you become the genuine person God created you to be.
There are two things I’ve learned about this:
- Being perfect is unrealistic – so stop trying to convince people that you are.
- You Can’t Make Everyone Happy – so be who you are and let the chips fall where they may.
Why are you trying so hard to fit in when you were born to stand out?” — Ian Wallace
4. Live to Work, Not Work to Live
Jesus came into the world for a singular purpose (Mark 1:38). He came. He worked hard to accomplish his purpose. He returned to the Father. That pretty much sums up his life. It should sum up yours as well.
If you live for yourself – to collect the things that make you happy – then, work will be a means to an end. But, if you live for your singular God-created purpose – then, your work will be for that purpose. You will begin to live for your work, instead of simply working to live.
5. Stop and Admire the Little Things
This may be the single hardest thing to do – and the most important.
Jesus said, “Look at the flowers …” (Matt. 6:28). Jesus stopped his disciples in the middle of the road and said, “Stop. Listen. Do you hear the birds singing? See how God takes care of them?” (Matt. 6:26). When the crowd was pushing him to the big city, Jesus said, “Let’s go to the small villages …” (Mark 1:38). This is where Jesus wanted to live. This was the focus of his life – the little things.
Take time to soak in the little things in life. Learn to appreciate the small moments. Collect a string of memories that will bring warmth for a lifetime. Life really is all the small moments that pass you while you’re making other plans.
I think it’s important to find the little things in everyday life that make you happy.” — Paula Cole
I sure wish I had learned these lessons earlier in life. All I can do now is apply them every day for as many days as I have left on this earth!