Occasionally, I will complicate things more than I should. Some of this comes from my unofficial diagnosis of “analysis paralysis” which leads me to overthink things to the point of stagnation if I’m not careful. However, at my core, I crave simplicity. After all, who actually enjoys complexity and having to sort through all the fine details of something only to come out more confused and exhausted when it’s all said and done?

In some ways, if we aren’t careful, we can make following Jesus much harder than necessary. Yes, following Jesus demands a radical shift in our preferences, perspectives, and passions. Thankfully, as we learn to trust Him more, He will transform our hearts and teach us how to live as He lived, but this leads us to a potentially complex question of “How did Jesus live?” After all, 1 John 2:6 makes it clear that if we are “in Him” then we should “walk as Jesus walked.” No pressure with that command, right? So is there a practical pathway that will lead us down the road of becoming more like Jesus? Or is this a complex mystery that only the theologically trained “experts” have the ability to discern?

While the 1 John 2:6 command is clear and strong, we don’t need to be overwhelmed, and we all can have a picture of what it means to live as Jesus lived. As we allow the Holy Spirit to work in our lives, we can and will become who God intends for us to be as His church.  Jesus taught us how to see faith and life become intertwined by living in a consistent rhythm of relationships that can be simply summed up by these three words… UP, IN, OUT

UP: Jesus lived continually submitted to the direction of His Father and the presence of the Holy Spirit. Likewise, we must bring ourselves before God on a regular basis to stay connected to His will and direction for our lives. By doing this, we are submitting to His authority and asking Him to direct our paths and reset our perspective on all of life’s situations.

IN: As Jesus went about fulfilling His purpose, He very intentionally brought other people to do ministry alongside Him. Jesus didn’t go through life alone and neither should we. We need to be locking arms with people who want to move in the same direction. However, these types of relationships are not necessarily cultivated by sitting in rows on a Sunday morning. Instead, these relationships are formed as we prioritize conversations and connections with one another throughout all of life as we live, work, and play.

OUT: Jesus’ purpose was ultimately to usher in a brand new way of living that was centered upon Him being Lord and Savior. Therefore, He spent time with hurting, broken, sinful, and tired people. He offered them an invitation to experience life to the fullest where His truth, grace, hope, and forgiveness would abound. Likewise, we cannot be content with a private faith that never makes a public impact.

As Jesus walked in this relational pattern, He taught His disciples how to walk in this pattern in such a way that they could teach others to do this as well. I call this “making disciples who can multiply disciples.”

What about you? Using the UP, IN, and OUT filter, how much of your life resembles the patterns and ways of Jesus? Next week, I’ll share how we can pray and study Scripture in such a way that leads and empowers us to be followers of Jesus who multiply disciples. Here’s a video that visually summarizes what I’ve just described.

Josh Duncan
Lead Pastor