As COVID-19 continues to sweep through the world, its impacts are many—the loss of work, the loss of human contact, and even the loss of life. The pandemic’s most devastating impact, however, is the loss of a predictable future. When will life return to normal? Will life ever return to normal? The uncertainty can be debilitating.
I wonder if this loss of certainty, of predictability, is what Jesus felt as he set his face toward Jerusalem? If so, your Lenten journey is likely more closely aligned with his than ever before.
That’s why, as the church heads into Palm Sunday, that this week of the 40 Days of Apostleship is paramount. Jesus had to deepen his faith to make it through an uncertain future. The same is true for you. I want to tell you how Jesus did it, and how you can too.
During this 40-day journey, we have been exploring how to expand our faith from simply believing in Jesus to believing like Jesus. This expansion accompanies the move from discipleship to apostleship. Are you ready to take the next step?
Jesus Believed in His Potential
Because Jesus believed that he and the Father were one and that he did nothing apart from the Father, he could maintain an abiding belief in his own potential. In other words, Jesus trusted that with God, he was capable of accomplishing what he had been sent to accomplish. That he could be all he was meant to be. Even on the way to the cross—in the midst of great suffering and uncertainty—Jesus leans into this belief. Listen in as Jesus talks with God: “Glorify your Son, that your Son may glorify you. I have brought you glory on earth by completing the work you gave me to do.” (John 17: 1, 4). You can hear the trust and confidence in Jesus’ prayer.
But what does this prayer actually mean? I had to look up glory and glorify to be sure myself. The glory of God refers to the radiant presence of God. To glorify, then, means to confer this quality on another. It’s done as a sign of divine approval. Jesus, through the quiet confidence of his belief, is asking to share in the glorious presence of God as a sign of God’s divine approval.
Soulful Step: When you are facing extreme uncertainty, belief in your own potential is essential. Even so, it is one thing to know that God fully approves of Jesus, and that the Divine presence and radiance is with him. It is another thing to know that Jesus and God fully approve of you. And that the radiant presence of God dwells within you. But it does.
Check this out. After Jesus prays for himself, he reveals his desire for every believer to be welcomed into divine unity. “I have given [all believers] the glory that you have given, that they may be one as we are one. I in them and you in me.” (John 17:22-23a)
Embrace the Belief: Do you believe that you can fulfill your potential? Or do you wrestle with the 7 fears of highly effective leaders? If fear gets the best of you in uncertain times, you are not alone. So, let me ask you this: Would it make a difference to know that you bear the radiant glory of Christ within you? Not as an afterthought or an earned reward, but simply by virtue of your connection with him? Most of us yearn for God’s attagirl or attaboy. The scriptures say you have it.
As you embrace this belief, it becomes easier to believe in your own potential. Your ability to do what is in front of you.
Perhaps you have heard of the “human potential movement.” It’s the idea that even ordinary people have extraordinary untapped capacity. While it’s a movement that gained footing in the 70s, it’s actually a biblical concept. If mere fishermen could be trained into apostleship, then you can rise to COVID-19 and the leadership challenges it presents.
The truth is, you not only have untapped human potential, you have untapped spiritual potential. Believing like Jesus means that you have divine partnership, your prayers have power, you have superpowers, and a purposeful life. The more you believe like Jesus, the more your spiritual potential begins to take shape.
Apostolic Action: It’s time to let the glory of God shine through you. Co-create a positive future with God, by rising to the challenges that are before you now. Watch my series of webinars on Congregations and COVID-19: Creative Ways to Stay Connected for strength and inspiration.
Finally, as you face uncertainty this week, practice seeing the glory of God in yourself, and in the people around you. Even if you are standing six feet apart.
© Copyright 2020 Rebekah Simon-Peter. Adapted from the upcoming volume, Believe Like Jesus.