“I used to think that discipleship was about learning things. It was learning all about God, studying my Bible, being a faithful church attender, hearing lots of messages and taking notes, reading books and being accountable to someone.
It was learning about what I shouldn’t do anymore. It was learning how to behave like a “good Christian” and having a nice life raising nice children in a nice suburb where they would not be infected by the evil world around us. And if I did these things, and learned these things for long enough, I would learn enough “truth” and be free.
But what I’ve actually learned is that discipleship is more about discovery.
Not that study or being faithful or being well-behaved or even suburbs are bad, it’s just that none of these things will necessarily transform the soul. For it’s not found in what we learn but in becoming who we already are through an ongoing relationship with the One who lives in us. We don’t try to imitate Christ as much as we learn how to walk in the incarnated Christ. That is, Christ incarnated in us.
Here’s what Jesus said about freedom.
“If you stick with this, living out what I tell you,
you are my disciples for sure.
Then you will experience for yourselves the truth,
and the truth will free you.” (John 8:31-32 MSG)
We read verses like John 8:31-32 and all nod our heads in agreement. Yes, amen, the truth will make you free. Hallelujah!
But maybe we should be asking Him the question, free us from what?
You might be tempted to blurt out, sin….free us from sin! Yes, but sin is just a behavioral symptom of something much deeper and more hidden from us. And it is God’s good pleasure to help us see it. Of course, this may not feel like our good pleasure at the time. It may even feel like the opposite of good pleasure. Nonetheless, it is good for us if we will just “stick with this.”
God will begin to work with us like a good Father does His son, the goal being that we come to the place where we think like He thinks, love like He loves and see everyone through His eyes. Part of that process certainly does concern our sin issues, getting us to the point in our lives where sin is no longer seen as forbidden fruit but more like arsenic to our souls. But, again, this still does not touch how He transforms us. Real transformation begins when we finally allow Him to shatter the image of God we’ve made for ourselves, one that’s in our own likeness.”
“The Disciple Shift we need to make is found by leaving the information-based, principle and rule-keeping arrangement we’ve made with God by allowing Him to walk right into the middle of our deepest pain and sadness and alienation. This is how He helps us progressively muddle through this process of deconstructing the god of our imaginations and, thus, bringing us out of our darkness and into His glorious light. A light that already resides in us. That’s how we become truly free.
And when we are finally free from the mythical “arrangement” we’ve made with God for this relational and experiential process, we will begin to actually trust Him instead of trusting in ourselves and hoping He will come through for us. This is the beginning of knowing the truth.”
“Walking into freedom also means that we begin to see people as they really are, instead of how we want them to be. We can finally love like God loves because now its HIS love that fills our hearts with HIS joy.”
This is very rough draft excerpt from the book I’m working on. This particular chapter is titled, “Disciple Shift.” The whole book is about my personal journey of discovery into a life in the Father’s embrace and how that has radically impacted my view of Christianity in just about every area of my life.
As you leave 2014 and journey into 2015, may it be a journey of new discovery and radical upgrade as you partner with Jesus and let Him walk you into greater realms of freedom.
You are SO loved!