Jesus Creed for Students: Week 1

This week we started our Jesus Creed for Students study with the youth group. We decided to do it at our main gathering because it would work well coming out of our study of the Kingdom of God in Matthew we had just finished up.

The Jesus Creed for Students is the youth version of Scot McKnight’s book The Jesus Creed, and it centers around Jesus’ statement that the center of Jesus’ ethic was the command to love God and to love others.

Happiness and the Jesus Creed

For most people, the one thing they’re seeking in life is happiness. Happiness–while desirable–is often centered around getting what you want. The best guess of the youth group was that happiness is related to getting what we want about 98% of the time. I think they’re right. But is “getting what we want” the one thing that’s most important in the Kingdom of God?

According to McKnight, to be blessed rather than happy is a far more worthy goal. Which begs the question, “What does it mean to be blessed?” I posed that question to the senior high students. When we thought of people who are “blessed” in our life, we thought primarily of people who seem to “have it all together.” People who are smart, and well off, talented, and generally able to do whatever they want. A few people came to mind who were blessed because they had persevered through trials and hardship, and these few people point us toward the people who are blessed in the eyes of Jesus.

Looking at Matthew 5:1-12, we looked at the people who Jesus names as blessed. The poor in spirit, those who are mourning, the meek, people with a hunger and thirst for what is right and just, who are merciful and pure in heart, who pursue peace and endure persecution in the name of Jesus and his kingdom. For Jesus then, to be blessed is not be happy because we get what we want, but to be the kind of people who remain faithful even when life presents us with temptations and struggles.

So how do we become that sort of person? How do we live to be blessed by God and not simply to be happy? That’s where the Jesus Creed comes in. When we live to be people who love God first with every fiber of our being, and who love others as ourselves, we cultivate the soil of our heart in order the the spirit’s fruit can blossom in our lives. In a sense we begin to train our unreformed “fleshly” selves to listen and act more readily to the leading of the new heart that Christ has given us.

For our group, that means we are committing to be people who recite the Jesus Creed daily. When we wake up and when we go to bed, when we leave our house and as we go about our day we have agreed to recited the following:

Hear O Israel, the Lord our God the Lord is One.

Love the Lord your God with

all your heart,

all your soul,

all your mind,

and all your strength.

The second is this

Love your neighbor as yourself.

There is no commandment greater than these.

I’m excited to see how this will shape my own heart and life, but more importantly how it might shape the heart and lives of the teens of {2:42}.

How about you? Would you commit to follow us as we study the Jesus Creed and recite throughout your day?

How do you think it might shape your life differently? 

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