Best practices are high-leverage activities that bring superior results. In any pursuit. They are discovered through the best information and real-world experience. I believe Jesus offers ULTIMATE BEST PRACTICES for life and work.
As Christ-followers, we have the massive potential to develop in the Jesus Way … as we learn and grow in his nature. And his capacities.
Did you know that the movement that Jesus started was known as The Way in the Book of Acts? And of course, Jesus self-identified as “the way, the truth, and the life” (John 14:6). Jesus Way best practices are powerful.
Love is the basis of everything
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A core Jesus Way best practice is to grow in a lifestyle of love.
Why am I saying that love is the basis of everything? Because “God is love” (1 John 4:8). It’s core to his nature. Everything that comes from him is love-based. And so it’s foundational to the entire creation. Love is coded into all reality.
“You’re kidding, right? Have you seen the news? Are you clueless about world history? How can you believe that love is the basis of all things.”
I understand. Something has gone terribly wrong. Sin and hatred have spread through humanity across time.
But the Creator has not changed. And the love of the Father has moved him toward reconciliation with humanity and creation. An ultimate solution. Love always wins.
“For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life. For God did not send the Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world might be saved through Him” (John 3:16-17 NASB).
The Creator calls us back to Higher Design. Ultimately, everything will be restored to a state the Scriptures call the new heavens and new earth.
Even now, though, the Kingdom of God is within the hearts of those who have been born again. And we can “taste” or sample the powers of the age to come (Hebrews 6:5) … as a witness of the ultimate restoration on the horizon!
What is love anyway?
I love steak? I love books. I love my wife. Love is an overused word. It’s nearly lost it’s meaning. For some, love is reduced to lust and sexual gratification.
Authentic love always desires the best interests of its object. What does love do? It’s self-sacrificing. Love serves and gives to the point of laying down our lives for others—“We know love by this, that He laid down His life for us; and we ought to lay down our lives …” (1 John 3:16 NASB).
For me, love opens the door to what’s best. True love is passionate about Higher Design. It’s discerning. It does not compromise.
Paul wrote, “And this I pray, that your love may abound still more and more in real knowledge and all discernment, so that you may approve the things that are excellent …” (Philippians 1:9-11).
Do you see that? Love is not blind. It is not ignorant. As love abounds in us, we progressively experience REAL KNOWLEDGE and DISCERNMENT. Then we experience the “things that are excellent.” More and more, we position ourselves to get clear about the Higher Design for our lives.
In its essence, creation is “coded” with love. It’s created by love and “wired” for love.
- Everything is sourced in divine love.
- And everything functions at its highest level because of love.
- It’s as if when we live a love lifestyle, we harmonize with creation.
- Our personal affairs are transformed. Our influence is empowered. It’s the way things work!
The Jesus Way is love-based
Jesus lives in perfect love. During the time of his earthly teaching and Kingdom modeling, he lived and ministered from the wellspring of the love of God.
If I try to activate any of the Kingdom dynamics of Jesus without love, I can expect no success. Zero. Apart from love, I can accomplish nothing of any real worth. “I have become a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal … I am nothing … I gain nothing” (1 Cor. 13:1-3 ESV).
Consider what Jesus said about speaking with faith-fueled authority …
“Have faith in God.” He clearly defined faith as speaking with authority. Mountains can be moved out of the way with the appropriate heart and words (see Mark 11:22-25)! Then Jesus said this belief-filled speaking springs from the place of prayer.
Jesus Smart Key
The Father gave Jesus to us because of love. Jesus knows the created order is an expression of the Father’s love. It’s “coded” with love. It’s how things work. If we want to live in the Kingdom Flow Zone, we will intentionally develop in the love of God.
Yet without love and relational harmony, this Kingdom best practice simply will not work. Why? If there is something wrong on a relational level, and we have not done what we can do to set it right, our prayer will be powerless.
Carefully read Mark 11:22-25. In fact, because of the first values of relational integrity and then prayer, I’ve found it interesting to read this passage in reverse starting with verse 25, then 24, 23, and 22. Try it. Relational integrity is foundational to fruitful prayer and belief-filled speaking that gets results.
- Verse 25—”Whenever you stand praying, forgive, if you have anything against anyone ….” This is the foundational priority of relational integrity. Now we can pray and speak with effect.
- Verse 24—”All things for which you pray and ask, believe that you have received them, and they will be granted you.” The womb of prayer conceives new things!
- Verse 23—”Whoever says to this mountain, ‘Be taken up and cast into the sea,’ and does not doubt in his heart, but believes that what he says is going to happen, it will be granted him.” Jesus defines faith as belief-filled speaking. Power is released through the faith-filled words which flow from a good heart.
- Verse 22—”Have faith in God.” The object of our faith is a Person, not a Promise. The Promiser performs the Promise.
So if there is no effective prayer, then there is no mountain-moving speaking. Jesus teaches that we are wise to put our prayer on hold and set things right … “Leave your gift there before the altar … first be reconciled to your brother, and then come and offer your gift” (Matthew 5:24).
Otherwise, we will release impotent words into the air with little to no effect. That’s how much God values love and relational harmony. It’s the way his kingdom works.
When relationships are wrong, everything is wrong
Here’s the irreducible minimum with Jesus: “‘You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. A second is equally important: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ The entire law and all the demands of the prophets are based on these two commandments” (Matt. 22:37-40 NLT).
James sees loving our neighbor as the fulfillment of the royal law (James 2:8).
God’s view of love is all-encompassing. We cannot say we love God and then refuse to love one another. “If anyone says, ‘I love God,’ and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen cannot love God whom he has not seen” (1 John 4:20 ESV). To hate is to blindly walk in darkness. Haters do not know where they are going (see 1 John 2:11).
So please understand that everything is created by love. It’s upheld by love. Everything works by love.
Jesus Way best practices are love-based, love-motivated and love-sustained … they simply do not work without the God-kind-of-love.