Saturday, December 31, 2005

Disciple 24/7

One of the greatest discoveries of my spiritual life has been discovering the fundamental difference between Jesus and me. Once I began to see what was the root of the gap between my humanity and His, I could then dream of seeing that gap closed forever. To help me remember the difference, I created a statement to remind myself. It goes like this....
"The difference between Jesus and me is simple. He was 100% satisfied in God 24 hours a day and seven days a week.
I am not."

Jesus' entire human experience was a manifestation of complete rest in God's perfection and abundance. It simply did not enter Jesus' mind, heart or soul to begin any thought or action doubting God. Temptation never took hold in His life because temptation can only take root in a space where there is doubt about God's perfect ability to satisfy.

As a child of Adam my entire life was birthed in dissatisfaction with God. My only hope is to be "born again" out of God's satisfaction provided for me by the death, burial and ressurrection of Jesus. Now that I am "born again" I can learn to be satisfied in God like Jesus which is the essence of discipleship.

Discipleship is being 100% satisfied in God 24 hours a day and seven days a week. The fruit of this satisfaction is love of God and love of neighbor-24/7. The fruit of this satisfaction is my ability to glorify God by making God's nature visible and available just as Jesus did.

The other day I was talking to a church leader here in Brazil who was questioning the need for another ministry like Abide Brazil. Truly, Brazil has been blessed with many great discipleship courses and ministries. Using the statement about the difference between Jesus and me as a basis, I asked him how many followers of Jesus he knew whose lives seemed to be a manifestation of satisfaction in God? I asked him how many pastors and leaders he knew who seemed to be governed by a 24 hour 7 day a week satisfaction in God. As he reflected on the "bottom line" of 24/7 he could see that many of our current discipleship methods are teaching discipline for satisfaction, not satisfaction for discipline. There is a huge difference. Jesus said "Without Me you can do nothing." He is the satisfaction that preceeds and provides the ability to be a disciple.

What we have done is make salvation an experience with God's grace 24/7 but sanctification (satisfaction in action) an experience with programs and plans whenever they are offered by the church. We have made salvation (justification) a permanent 24/7 reality while we have made discipleship an activity we sometimes engage in as needed rather than a life we live.

Picture yourself signing up to follow Osama Bin Laden. I know that is a huge imaginary challenge, but try. Do you suppose he would accept anything less than 24/7? Do you think he would accept anything less than hate? Why is it we think Jesus is less serious than Osama? How can we even begin to compare the loyalty Jesus asks for to the loyalty Osama asks for? Is hate more serious than love?

Abiding is a metaphor of discipleship 24/7. Branches don't live unless they live from the Vine 24/7. Branches don't bear fruit unless they live 24/7. As satisfaction in God comes to us by the presence of Jesus in our lives we should not be surprised to see the fruit appear that proves we are 24/7 disciples of Jesus.

When it comes to discipleship, throw your watch and schedule away. Discipleship based on 100% satisfaction in God is
24/7 and you should not expect it to be or want it to be anything less. Increasing satisfaction received from Jesus is what makes me like Jesus. Nothing else can.

I have developed another statement to remind me not to make excuses for the difference between me and Jesus. When I feel discipleship 24/7 is out of my reach, I say "He who has Jesus lacks nothing." Since He abides in me I need not make excuses just confessions. I sin because I am not 100% satisfied in God. I need no other explanation or excuse. I did not take advantage of what Jesus offers 24/7 and that must be confessed.

I can't picture Osama Bin Laden yawning and being soft on his disciples. I can't picture him forgiving either.

I can't picture Jesus yawning and being soft on his diciples. I can picture Him forgiving. Forgiving but never excusing. How can you excuse someone who has all they need?

Now that Jesus is in me I can become a 24/7 manifestation of God's grace and truth. I simply must abide and God will take care of the clock and the calendar for His glory.

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