This was originally written as a devo for whillschurch.org.
Last week I told you about Cayden’s wonderful discovery of the rotary phone. Captivating – I’m sure – but the larger point I was trying to make was this – don’t make discipleship harder than what it really is.
Allow me to quote myself from last week:
This is discipleship. This simple little interaction of teaching, training, experimenting, and celebrating. She was faced with something she didn’t understand, she listened to someone who did. That someone showed them then allowed her to try it out, allowed her to make some mistakes but those mistakes eventually led to her doing it right. And when she succeeded – we went and had ice cream.
While ice cream is a vital part of any discipleship relationship, I have my “Big 5” that I make sure is foundational to any discipleship relationship I’m in. Here they are – then I’ll tackle the first one.
1. Identity in Christ (live)
2. How to feed themselves spiritually (Love)
3. Know Their Spiritual Gift (Know)
4. Use Their Spiritual Gift (Serve)
5. How to tell their God-story (Tell)
These are the Big 5 I make sure we cover in a discipling relationship. Pretty straight forward. If I’m working with someone who has a specific ministry focus – life group leader, student leader – then we will add some specific stuff like – how to deal with the obnoxious talker in a life group (sit next to them) or how to keep middle school boys focused (duct tape). But these are the Big 5.
Identity in Christ
Almost all of the emotional/personal issues that people deal with can be tied to their understanding – or lack – of who they are in Christ. I’d go so far to say this – more than likely, whatever the specific sin that a Christ-follower struggles with is directly tied to an identity issue. They (we, me, you) forget or we don’t know who Christ has made us to be by grace through faith in Him. Let me give a couple of examples.
I have to have a girlfriend/boyfriend.
Colossians 2:20 – I am complete in Christ.
I just can’t quit sinning.
Hebrews 4:16 – I can find grace and mercy in time of need.
Philippians 4:13 – I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.
I don’t feel saved.
Romans 8:1-2 – I am free forever from condemnation.
Romans 8:28 – I’m assured that all things work together for good.
Romans 8:35 – I cannot be separated from the love of God.
2 Corinthians 1:21-22 – I have been established, anointed, and sealed by God.
Colossians 3:3 – I am hidden with Christ in God.
I am worthless, no one loves me.
John 1:12 – I am God’s child.
John 15:5 – I am Christ’s friend.
1 Corinthians 6:19 – I’ve been bought with a price.
1 Corinthians 6:20 – I belong to God.
There are hundreds of verses in scripture that speak to the new reality of who we are in Christ once we’ve decided to follow Jesus. The key is to internalize them, make them our own. It’s not “they” were bought with a price, or “we” but “I.” I was bought with a price. I am a kid of the King. (See the end of the article for a PDF file that I’ve used for years as a starting point.)
Then it’s a process called – “fake it till you make it.” Our feelings have a tendency to be wrong. In fact – most of the time they are just flat out wrong. Our minds and will have to teach and tell our emotions what is truth and then TRAIN them to follow our minds and will. That’s where the fake it till you make it comes into play.
You practice so that your muscles develop muscle memory of a particular skill. It’s not a pleasant experience at first. It’s sore and it hurts. But after time and discipline – it finally “feels” right. But it didn’t at first. From puppy love to our justification of sin – our feelings are the worse standard to judge what is truth. We must train our feelings to fall in line with the scriptures and the truth. It doesn’t matter if you don’t feel tardy – you are. (Obscure rock and roll reference.)
We took the kids up in the arch this year. We get in the elevator to ride up and two of my family members almost go into full fledged panic attacks. I have the scars to prove it. “The Arch is going to collapse. The elevator is going to break and fall straight to the earth. What if a plane hits the Arch while we are in there? Why is it 134 degrees in this thing? WE ARE ALL GOING TO DIE!!!!”
Pull yourself together and study the facts! We are the 134th trip up the Arch today, no plane has EVER hit the Arch, it’s very design prevents it from falling, and the elevators have double redundancy in case of failure. Regardless of what you FEEL – those are the facts.
Same with our issues and our feelings. When we go off the deep end, it’s time to head to the Scriptures to get the facts. Allow those facts to teach and train our emotions – not the other way around. This is a huge step towards maturity. And it’s why it’s one of the Big 5.
Next week: How to feed yourself spiritually. (love)