Updated: Mar 23, 2021
In last month's blog, we explored some observations about Jesus' callings. Today, we will explore more!
Heart Cries Heard at the Transitions
How can you or I know when we are crossing one of the thresholds associated with Jesus’ four calls? Or how can we recognize when someone we are discipling is crossing one of these essential thresholds?
From my experience, I have learned to listen to the cries that come from a person’s heart (versus his or her head). Often these cries will be heard as the person is talking or praying with me during a one-on-one time together. Or they might be said in a gathering with three or four others whom the person knows well and trusts.
Although the specific words said usually aren’t exactly these, here are the heart cries that I listen for at each threshold:
Believe = “God, I need and want Your forgiveness. Save me! Your provision is my only hope; I need and want Jesus.”
Follow = “Jesus, I really want to know You! I am desperate to know You! I must! Knowing all about You is not enough! There must be more to the Christian life than what I’m experiencing! I’m doing all the right things but feeling numb and empty. Where is the abundant life You promised?”
Be with = “Jesus, I cannot follow You on my own! I desperately need others in my life who know and are following You!”
Abide = “Jesus, I desperately want others to know You!”
Core Convictions Established at the Transitions
Crossing the thresholds from one call to the next are major kairos events. They are defining moments in one’s life. Like Cortez burning his ships when he arrived in the New World, these are points of no return. They represent driving the stakes of some core convictions for one’s life.
Here are six core convictions that I see, two for each of the three calls that move us from Believers to Mature Disciples (Abiders).
To “Follow” Jesus, we must establish for our lives the core convictions of being God-scripted and Self-initiating.
God-scripted means that we have driven the stake to desire and seek God’s plan for our lives, not our own plans. It means we are staking our lives on the truths that (1) God desires what is best for us, (2) God knows what is best for us, and (3) God can and will accomplish what is best for us. His plan, therefore, is better than our own. Consequently, we have handed Him the book of our life and asked Him to write the rest of our story any way He wants, one page at a time. We will readily follow Him whenever, wherever, whatever, however. He only needs to show us, one step at a time.
God-scripted also means that everything we have and are is His, and He can do with it what He wants, entrusting to us and taking away from us as He chooses. He can set our level of living wherever He wants, and we will gratefully steward with an open hand whatever He entrusts to us, whether great or little.
In whatever plan He has for our life, our only desire is that of the song from the musical Godspell: “to see Him more clearly, love Him more dearly, follow Him more nearly, day by day.”
Self-initiating means two things. First, knowing that God needs to bring about total transformation in my life, we will cooperate with Him in the Transformation Cycle, rather than resist Him. Here are some ways we can do this:
Instead of only waiting reactively for the kairos moments God injects into our life, we will be proactive in seeking to be transformed.
We will expectantly, eagerly and alertly seek to hear from God through His Word, others in the Body, Godly leaders, etc.
We will increase the range of our spiritual “radar” beyond our normal circle of local church and denomination in order to tune in better to where God is already at work or where He is going to be at work.
And whenever He puts something before us that might stretch our faith or show us more of His perspective, we will meet Him there, no matter how much it is outside our comfort zone.
Second, in seeking and responding to God’s efforts to transform us, we will not wait to see if others around us are (1) sensing God’s calling or His working and (2) responding to Him. He only needs to speak to us individually, and we will follow. Our eyes are on God, not on the crowd around us. If others also hear and follow, that’s great, but we’re not waiting on them or taking a poll to see if we should follow.
To “Be with” Jesus, we must establish for our lives the core convictions of being Team-connected and Servant-hearted.
Team-connected means we will always be roped-in with a small team who are like-hearted, like-minded, and are of similar or greater maturity in their journey of growing to or continuing as Mature Disciples in Jesus’ Discipleship.
If the team we are with stops climbing without a specific reason and duration in mind, we will look for another team that is still climbing and seek to rope-in with them (self-initiating).
If God moves us to a new location and we are not able to continue effectively with our team by using today's internet technology, we will immediately begin to pray for and seek a new team to join. If none can be found, then we will start one. We know that we need other climbers if we are to get to the top of God’s telescope.
Servant-hearted means our attitude toward the others on our team is that of serving, not being served. Our desire is to build them up and see them grow rather than just get all we can from them.
To “Abide in” Jesus, we must establish for our lives the core convictions of Difference-making and Reproducing.
Difference-making means we realize that God has left us on planet Earth as His instruments to make a Kingdom-difference. In any situation, we are to look alertly and boldly for opportunities (kairos moments) in which to turn the spiritual climate more Godward. We will not merely reflect the spiritual climate of those around us. We are to be spiritual thermostats, not merely cultural thermometers. This can be as simple, and yet profound, as asking others to pray with us for God’s wisdom and guidance.
Reproducing means being disciplemakers, intentionally passing on to specific individuals the transformational truths God has worked into our lives. It means doing this in a way that they, in turn, can do the same with others.
These core convictions and the previous observations focused on in last month's blog, embedded in our responding to Jesus’ calls, form the DNA of all Mature Disciples. These convictions change us forever and give us the spiritual genetic material to impart to the next generation.