Tuesday, February 03, 2009

A Good Question

I am a believer in the power of great questions. A well constructed and well asked question can reveal truth that ordinarily remains hidden beneath layers of evasion or confusion.

Here is a question that I have found yields tremendous, transforming truth for spiritual formation and discipleship.
Here is the question I ask of a person who is wanting to understand what it means to abide in Christ.

How much of the Christian Life do you think you currently possess? A little? Most? Nearly all? All?

Rarely does someone respond by confidently saying "I have all the Christian life.". Even so, the answer to the question for every believer is "I have all the Christian life.". Every believer should say with complete confidence and tranquility "I have all of the Christian life there is or will ever be. I have Jesus dwelling me. Jesus is the entire Christian life"

Collosians 3:11 says "Christ is all and is in all." The Christian life is a person. One does not accumulate a person. One believes in and responds to a person who is there.

Paul said "For to me to live is Christ..." He also said "It is no longer I who live but Christ lives in me." . The Christian life is a person that every believer has dwelling in them from the moment of conversion. When we answer that we have a little of the Christian life, most of the Christian life or nearly all of the Christian life we reveal that we see the Christian life as a process of accumulation and not the formation of the presence of a person or life that abides in us.

It is true that Christ must be formed in us. That is, the Christian life, Jesus, needs to occupy the center of our existence and be the moment by moment stimulus that explains all of our behavior. All competition which seeks to get my attention must be overcome by the forming presence of Christ as my life.

When we attempt to disciple a person as if they lack the Christian life we will feel compelled to construct a Christian life delivery system that tells them they lack what we and others have already received. We will create systems to put into others what someone else put into us. These systems may very well lead to some growth in our knowledge of Jesus and of His life in us. The tragedy is that this type of system always creates the haves and the have nots and is incapable of creating the equality of life Jesus said His followers would enjoy.

In a Vineyard every branch has the entire Vine and all it is willing to give. The only question is how well is the branch responding to what it has---the Vine.

Right now every believer has the entire Christian life. The right questions for a disciple are "How am I responding to the Christian life I have? Am I abiding?"

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