Last week, I spoke at a church about change. It's the new year and I wanted to encourage the believers that Christians must constantly seek transformation through intentional disciple. That's what we call 'discipleship'. As Eugene Peterson calls it, "A Long Obedience in the Same Direction".
Most people want to address the gospel as 'sin management'. But sincere followers of Christ are drawn to the beauty of walking with Christ every moment. The message of Jesus was, "Repent! For the Kingdom of God is at hand." The inference was NOW. Repent NOW. Change the way you're thinking, NOW. The Kingdom of God is available to you NOW. Those who never frame their life in view of eternity are satisfied with salvation being the start and end point of our Christian faith. But discipleship is the key to abundance and victory NOW. Why wait until you die to live eternally?
My Home Church just finished a study of the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5-7) with a message on verses 24-29, which talk about building your house on the ROCK. That was Jesus call to discipleship. If you are doers of the word and NOT JUST hearers, you can learn to live in the moment in light of eternity. Remember: THIS is not about THIS.
In his benchmark work, "The Divine Conspiracy" Dallas Willard talks about the elephant in the church is this very issue of discipleship. It's more and more evident as consumer Christianity creeps deeper into the psyche of brick and mortar buildings where money drives the train...and the training.
In Matthew 5, Jesus walks up to a man who has been lame for 38 years and asks the most unusual question, "Do you want to be healed?" Now, if it wasn't Jesus asking the question, I would think, "What a stupid question". But the fact that Jesus asks it is a revelation to us. Do YOU want to be healed? Do YOU want to live victorious? Do YOU want to have an abundant life here on this earth? Do you?
Discipleship won't work unless you do. You must DO something. God will NOT transform you into the image of Christ apart from you. Your part is practicing the disciplines necessary to bring change. That, with the work of the Holy Spirit and the every day issues of life, is all you need to start becoming a disciple of Jesus. But....do you WANT THAT?
Building your life on the ROCK means having the faith of Christ not just a faith in Christ. The latter will get you saved. Is that enough for you? Then your gospel is not the gospel of Jesus Christ. The good news is that you can be TRANSFORMED now.
Willard says that any curriculum for Christ-likeness must include the following two things: