PLANES, AIRPORTS & DISCIPLESHIP
I’m thinking about when Jesus called His disciples. And what He was calling them to. To follow Him. To become like Him. Which is the same call He gives to you and me. Not a formula — although, at times, I think that would be nice — but only leads to legalism. He calls us to abide (relationship). To follow in His ways. To humbly surrender and worship. As we do, it’s the Holy Spirit’s job to convict of sin and lead us towards Christlikeness.
PLANES, AIRPORTS & DISCIPLESHIP
In this way, we are a bit like planes at an airport. People are arriving and departing at different times, going to different places. We are not all on the same schedule, and while our destination may ultimately be the same place, our journey to get there is much different. The disciples are a great example of this variation in the Church. We see such diverse personalities as they are learning and expressing their new faith in Jesus — and so it is with us today. There are red Christians & blue Christians, and everything in between who love Jesus. There are Christians just starting their journey out and those who have followed faithfully for decades. Because there isn’t a formula, and legalism was a burden Jesus and the apostles fought hard against, the Church is full of people who love Jesus and think differently about politics and culture. True tolerance is the ability to give grace and encouragement to people along the pathway of following Jesus. And a recognition that Jesus seems to be ok with giving us a wide lane to express our faith.
I’m learning to trust that the Holy Spirit is better at transforming people into Christlikeness than I am. That, if He wants someone to believe or act a certain way, He will do the transformative work required. I am convicted of my wrongdoing when I forget I’m not the Holy Spirit.
I can hear some of you saying, what about Matthew 18 or Ephesians 15? Allowing the Holy Spirit to bring direction or correction does not necessarily mean that as friends, mentors, or accountability partners, we sit quietly while our loved ones hurt themselves. But one caveat is that unless we abide in Jesus, none of this works — we are reduced to our wisdom, our ideas, our strength. That goes for the mentor as much as the mentee. My mentor goes into our meetings with prayerful discernment as he offers me spiritual direction. In addition, he has yet to tell me what to do. He asks me what I sense the Spirit saying to me or where I can see the Kingdom of God breaking into a situation.
My friends, we live in a delicate ecosystem of community in Christ. We all fit together like the Millennium Falcon Lego set (7500 pieces…Yikes!). When my son was young, too young, he tried putting it together on his own. It resulted in a lot of tears when he realized he got off 10 steps back and had to take it apart. When one piece is off, we feel it. We are quick with self-righteousness, legalism, and gracelessness. We live in and operate out of our insecurity — accepting lies about ourselves instead of holding to our true identity as deeply loved Children of God.
So, here we come back to our need for abiding again.
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