Jamie Trussell, Director the Emerging Leaders program, shares his advice for this year’s graduates. Though the original audience for this material was our graduating students, there is surely encouraging and challenging application to be found here by all.
Here are the final 15 thoughts I shared with the Emerging Leader graduates of 2012. This list is an amalgam of wisdom that other men have given me, or that I have acquired by watching four generations of Emerging Leaders come and go. I will confess that these items are not perfectly assimilated into my own life, but I am convinced that they hold true and are continually worthy of my pursuit.
We are each a product of grace. It would be a great perversion for your new knowledge of God and His word to produce arrogance. Remember, knowledge does not necessarily equate to growth and maturity.
1. Be content with anonymity. God knows your name; that is enough.
2. Resolve to live the truth, not simply to learn it.
3. Read your Bible. There is no Christian activity that can replace this.
4. There will be moments that call for you to lead and not appease people’s preferences and feelings. Never aspire to be intentionally offensive, but leadership requires you to make decisions that others won’t.
5. Exercise! You have been given one vehicle with which to take the gospel into the world. Take care of it. Disease and illness are out of your control, but a healthier diet and exercise are possible.
6. Adopt the disposition of patience. Relationships are marathons, not sprints.
7. Your sin can never cancel out your eternal security, but it can (and will) interrupt your intimacy with Christ.
8. Your flesh seeks to destroy you. John Owen states that if every lustful glance could be carried to completion then it would be. Your sinful passions are not a harmless past time. They are bent towards your complete, moral failure. Be the type of person whose convictions outweigh their passions.
9. When assessing your life, always begin with your justification. Hold fast to the fact that you are already pronounced clean and accepted before God. Most people assess their lives only through the lens of their sanctification, which generally leaves them continually discouraged.
10. Stay Poised! There is pain that lies ahead for all of you. When your earthly circumstances most resemble what feels like Hell, remember that Paul states your life is in heaven. Try your best to not overreact. Remain faithful because there is deeper life on the other side of each trial.
11. Learn the profound act of silence. If you are someone who is always sharing your opinion, or you are always the one speaking out in small/large group settings then people will start to tune you out. Often times, the less you speak the more you are heard.
12. Use yourself to attract people to Jesus; do not use Jesus to attract people to yourself.
13. No longer be people of potential, but of actuality.
14. God loves you enough to wound you. This is never a spiteful or vindictive blow, but our wounds are often necessary. A smaller summer of wounds now is meant to prevent a more desolate winter later.
15. What a wonderful year each of you have had. My hope is that this past nine months has been exceedingly meaningful, but that it is not the pinnacle of your lives. You are each greatly loved. Grace and Peace.