Practices

Twelve Months

What would it be like, together with our children, to live every month, for the next twelve months, like Jesus? Would we have to change what we think, say, or do? Twelve months … is it possible to live like Jesus?

Paul believed that wherever he was in whatever circumstances and with whatsoever he had, he could do anything because Jesus gave him strength (cf. Philippians 4:10-13). So is it possible to live like Jesus? Yes, if we rely totally on Him for the desire and strength to live like Him.

Twelve months with Jesus at the center of who we are, what we do, and why we do it. Will you give it a shot? Why not make it a challenge for your family, Christian school, or congregation? Here’s what you’ll do: Each month, you and your children will add a new trait of Jesus’ life into the fabric of your lives.

January – Focus on the Word

By 12 years of age, Jesus was well versed in the Scriptures (cf. Luke 2:46-47). Living like Jesus begins with getting into the Word. To think and act like Him, we need to know how He thought and acted. “Keep your eyes on Jesus, who both began and finished this race we’re in. Study how he did it.” Hebrews 12:2 (MSG). Why not read and reflect on God’s Word together as a family, maybe at breakfast or supper every day? Jesus is seen most clearly in the Gospels, so this is a good place to get started.

February – Pray

Jesus prayed regularly and urgently (cf. Luke 5:16). He prayed for God’s kingdom to come and His will to be done (cf. Matthew 6:10). Prayer was never an afterthought for Jesus. Prayer is more caught than taught. Use the Scriptures to inform the content of your prayers. Pray persistently on all occasions (cf. Ephesians 6:18). When you get together as a family or small group, make prayer a priority.

March – Abide in God

Jesus is in the Father, and the Father is in Him (cf. John 14:11). Live in Jesus as He lives in you (cf. John 15:4, 9). To abide in God is to welcome, trust, and receive everything God has for us in Jesus. It’s savouring His grace, cherishing His words, valuing His presence, and contemplating His glory. One way to do this is to meditate daily on a different attribute/characteristic of Jesus. Use sticky notes to stick different verses, about a characteristic of Jesus, on the bathroom mirror for everyone to read and emulate.

April – Do what God wants

Jesus was totally committed to doing what the Father wanted Him to do (cf. John 6:38, Luke 2:49). Living like Jesus is doing what God wants us to do, not what we want to do. To do what God wants us to do, we cannot love the world or anything in the world (cf. 1 John 2:15). As we make decisions, we should ask ourselves, “What would Jesus do?” We know what Jesus wants us to do through reading/hearing and obeying the Word.

May – Use words wisely

The Father told Jesus what to say and how to say it (cf. John 12:49). Ask Jesus to help you use words that are kind, good, and true. “Watch the way you talk. Let nothing foul or dirty come out of your mouth. Say only what helps …” Ephesians 4:29 (MSG). Jesus’ words, even when He corrected and rebuked, were always seasoned with grace. Aim to say something every day that builds others up.

June – Share the Good News

Jesus’ conversations, as recorded in the Gospels, were on average 42 seconds long. Daily interactions with people are opportunities to share the Good News. Jesus’ conversations were natural, meaningful, and helpful. He didn’t use a special approach. He simply pointed them to Himself. What would you say about Jesus if you only had 42 seconds? Ask your children what they would say. Pray for conversational openings and share Jesus as often as you can.

July – Be sacrificial

Jesus sacrificed His life so that we could have fullness of life. Giving up something valuable to help another person is intrinsic to being a Christ-follower. “Do not forget to do good and to share with others, for with such sacrifices God is pleased” Hebrews 13:16. Pray and act in line with this prayer every day: Jesus, I offer my body as a living sacrifice. I’m here for you. I give you everything – my time, talents, treasures, ambitions, plans, hopes and desires. Help me not to conform to this world, but to do your good, pleasing, and perfect will (cf. Romans 12:1-2).

August – Spend time with believers

Jesus was intimately invested in the daily life of others. Relationships, especially with Christ-followers, are integral to living like Jesus. No one should journey through life alone. We’re better together. We should meet regularly with other Christians to sing praises to Jesus, read His Word, talk about Him, and pray to Him (Jesus attended and taught regularly in the synagogue – cf. Luke 4:16).

September – Serve others

Jesus came to serve, not to be served (cf. Mark 10:45). Open your home to God’s people, share meals, assist in the ministries of your local church, visit the sick, pray with the downcast, help out at the foodbank, look after orphans and widows … The list of things we can do to serve others is endless.

October – Go where God leads

Jesus did exactly what the Father told Him to do (cf. John 14:31). He went where God wanted Him to go, said what God wanted Him to say, and did what God wanted Him to do. Along with our children, we must be ready and willing to go where God leads us. Do we know how to determine God’s leading? Are we willing to count all things as loss for the infinite value of knowing Jesus? (cf. Philippians 3:8).

November – Give generously

Jesus gave of Himself unreservedly, which is the true measure of generosity. He gave what we cannot repay. Aim to give more than you think you can and live off less than you think you need. “Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you” Luke 6:38.

December – Love extravagantly

“As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now remain in my love. If you keep my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commands and remain in his love. I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete. My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you” John 15:9-12. Love involves inward attitudes and outward deeds. It’s using the same passion, resourcefulness, and persistence to pursue your friend’s (and foes) well-being as you do your own (cf. Matthew 22:39, Luke 6:31).

Twelve months … you can do it! Be determined to live like Jesus, and He will equip and sustain you.

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© Scripture Union, 2020

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