21 July 2011

Off the Startingblocks Or Still in the Locker Room?



"Therefore, go and make _disciples_  of all the nations,baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit.  Teach these new disciples to obey all the commands I have given you. And be sure of this: I am with you always, even to the end of the age."
Jesus Christ, Matthew 28:19,20
If you're from a Christian background you have likely heard and or read these words. Have you looked closely at the command? 
I underscored the word disciples to emphasize it, notice he never said make converts, nor be someone I can be proud of. Nothing as easy or feeble as that, no. Christ wanted his followers to follow, study, mimic Him in quality of heart and head. Being a mere adherent is not the same; a disciple adds and removes behaviors, stays focused and learns as he goes, just as any one competing in sports or any discipline does.
Grasping for the right principles, keys, outcomes, or sensations does not bring you further along. Controversy over techniques which divide people into factions has no value at all in God's economy.
There are three telltale signs (for me) that a Christian is not working at becoming a disciple: 1 he does not read the Bible, or if he does he does not read it well (it is not a recipe book) 2 he does not understand how the Holy Spirit would operate in his own life today 3 (sadly) there is little fruit such as patience, love, joy, etc.
That is the analysis, what is answer? As the book's title puts it, there are no shortcuts to progress. I always recommend a three-pronged approach, the short version is to 1 remove obstructions and read and act on what the Bible says 2 ask God to teach you what you need to learn, and seek it out at the same time 3 love, love, love. Ask people, listen and give.
I think Lewis nailed it here in referencing the ancients:

"...for the wise men of old the cardinal problem had been how to conform the soul to reality, and the solution had been knowledge, self-discipline and virtue. 
[while we try to discover] ...how to subdue reality to the wishes of men: the solution is technique...and in the practice of technique, [we] do the...impious." 

CS Lewis, "The Abolition of Man"