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Youth Leadership: Walking in Jesus

By Chris Colgan, Australia

Colossians 2:6-7 ESV

“Therefore, as you received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in him, rooted and built up in him and established in the faith, just as you were taught, abounding in thanksgiving.”

It is difficult to describe people we have just met. We do not know much about them because we have not spend much time with them. And when we are faced with questions about them, we are stumped because we do not know them personally. In the same way, as youth leaders, we will not be able to engage in conversations about Jesus with our youth, if we barely know Him ourselves.

Sometimes, we get so caught up with ministry that we forget to spend time with our first love—Jesus. Instead, we start chasing after the success of ministry. So it is important that we stop to think, Have we put Jesus first in our hearts? Are we at least aware that He should be first? If we know that He should be first, but have not put Him first, then we need to do something about it. We need to start “walking in Jesus” by…

1) Being “rooted and built up [in Him]”

When Paul wrote the letter to the Colossians, he was addressing the false doctrines and false teachings at that time. He reminded the believers in Colossae to be firmly “rooted” in God’s Word, that is to let His Word be the anchor and foundation of their life. We do so by reading our Bible, meditating on it, and putting His truths into practice. We will then be like the wise man who built his house on the rock. Christ is the Cornerstone on which we must build our lives, lest we fall like the house of the foolish man (Matthew 7:24-27; Isaiah 28:16).

2) Being “established in the faith”

If we are “established in the faith”, our actions will show the faith that we profess we have. James says in his epistle, “What good is it, my brothers, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? . . . For as the body apart from the spirit is dead, so also faith apart from works is dead” (James 2:14,26). We must walk the talk, and practice what we preach. When we preach to our youth about spending time with Christ and obeying His commands, we need to make sure we do so ourselves too. It is a discipline that needs to be cultivated.

3) “Abounding in thanksgiving”

Paul says later in Colossians, “And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him” (Colossians 3:17). Paul emphasizes the need to thank God for the faith that we claim to have and show in deeds. In so doing, we recognize that our faith and our deeds are not from ourselves, but from the Holy Spirit that He has given to us.

By walking in Jesus, our youth can see Him in every part of our lives because they can “taste” Jesus in our speech and actions. It is only when our leadership stems from our relationship with Jesus that we can point our youth to a living relationship with Him.

ODB: Giving Thanks

February 26, 2013 

READ: John 11:32-44 

Jesus lifted up His eyes and said, “Father, I thank You that You have heard Me.” —John 11:41 

A tragedy left a family with a void that nothing could fill. A toddler chasing a cat wandered into the road and was run over by a delivery truck. A 4-year-old watched in shocked silence as her parents cradled the lifeless body of her little sister. For years, the cold emptiness of that moment encased the family in sadness. Feelings were frozen. The only comfort was numbness. Relief was unimaginable.

Author Ann Voskamp was the 4-year-old, and the sorrow surrounding her sister’s death formed her view of life and God. The world she grew up in had little concept of grace. Joy was an idea that had no basis in reality.

As a young mother, Voskamp set out to discover the elusive thing the Bible calls joy. The words for joy and grace come from the Greek word chairo, which she found out is at the center of the Greek word for thanksgiving. Could it be that simple? she wondered. To test her discovery, Voskamp decided to give thanks for 1,000 gifts she already had. She started slowly but soon gratefulness was flowing freely.

Just as Jesus gave thanks before, not after, raising Lazarus from the dead (John 11:41), Voskamp discovered that giving thanks brought to life feelings of joy that had died along with her sister. Joy comes from thanksgiving.

— Julie Ackerman Link

Lord, I thank You that You have the power
to raise the dead. May the feelings of joy
that arise from our thanksgiving be seeds of
grace to those who are afraid to feel.

The joy of living comes from a heart of thanksgiving.