Near the beginning of my year at School of Discipleship we went through the book “The Jesus Style” by Gayle Erwin. In this book he talked about the characteristics of Jesus, and one is that he was a man of no reputation. It stood out to me at the time, but since then we have gone through many others books and I had forgotten about it, until just recently.
In one of our classes the teacher challenged us to search our hearts to find out what is coming in between us and God. After meditating on this, I realized that though it may sometimes come in different forms, what really hinders my walk with God is my trying to protect my reputation. It causes me to fear obeying God and losing friends. But Jesus had no reputation.
In a way everyone has a reputation, but for Jesus it had no meaning because his reputation was simply who he was. He wasn’t ever trying to be someone he wasn’t, or show off to people; he had no worries of who was, or who wasn’t his friend; he had one mission and that is what his whole life was focused on.
For me it comes back to the thing I struggle with the most: Being real with people and not hiding who I really am. This was one thing I saw in myself a few months ago and it really hit me hard. I thought I had made changes and at least overcome this some what. Now I see that though I may have taken one step, there are still hundreds more to go. I can’t do it, I will only fail. Yet I am amazed with the grace of God, he stands by my side still loving me and telling me his grace is sufficient for me.
And I believe that “The one who calls you is faithful, and he will do it.”
1 Thess. 5:24.
—School of Discipleship student
As my class and I read through How to Pray by R.A. Torrey I ask myself, how do I know if I am abiding in Christ and staying connected to the vine? If I am in Christ and the connected to the sap (the Holy Spirit), I will bear fruit accordingly.
Therefore, to abide in Christ means that I need to be surrendered to God. By surrendered I mean as the Lord shows me areas in my life that I need to give up, that I do. It will be a continuous process of surrendering to the Lord for the rest of my life.
Yes, this is going to take a lot of time. I wish I hadn’t prayed for patience all those years ago. The Lord is finally answering my prayers. If that is the way that it needs to be, then the Lord will give me grace and strength to persevere.
Now the real question is, how will I practically apply or act upon what the Lord showed me?
With the Lord’s help, I will surrender those things in my life that the Lord shows me and to seek to abide in Christ. I may have to surrender on a continual basis, maybe even moment by moment. Lord, I am going to need your help even more than before. I know You are faithful though, so I’ll make it. No problem.
What gives the blood of Jesus it’s power? Roy Hession states this answer in his book, The Calvary Road: “that which gives the precious blood its power with God for men is the lamb-like disposition of the One who shed it and of which it is the supreme expression. ”
For almost two weeks now, my whole class has been going through this book which emphasizes on understanding what it means to be broken and humble like Christ. We are finding plenty of opportunities to be broken and to love without expectations, especially because we get to apply everything we are learning at work and at home.
Since the Lord is in the midst of our everyday conversations and decisions, there is no way we could simply talk about brokenness and not find ourselves quickly dealing with our convictions when we offend someone or when we enter in denial of our need for God.
As for me, within this week alone, I have been offended by at least two people. Pride arises so quickly in me during these experiences and I would venture on to give excuses for my bitterness toward my offenders.
But there really is no getting around it.
I live with my peers and Jesus knows exactly how to make a reality what we have been discussing and reading about. Plus, we read Philippians 2-3:11 at least twice a week for the whole month of October. It speaks of considering others before oneself and thus exemplifying the life of Jesus, who is the very reason why we joined School of Discipleship in the first place! As a result, there has been a lot of “I’m sorry’s” and “I forgive you’s” going around. Praise the Lord.
By God’s grace, in the midst of my own struggles, I am becoming more conscious of the bigger picture. I am recognizing my self-focus; and more importantly, I am learning to obey the gentle rebuke of my heavenly Father. My peers and I are finding that there truly is power in the blood of Jesus through brokenness. Beyond the little annoyances and selfishness in our hearts is healing, true character building, and a deeper sense of fellowship through humility.
Our union as Christ’s body grows stronger each day as we obey the Lord’s voice in our individual lives. Thanks to our classes and the experience of living in an interdependent community all centered on Jesus Christ, the humble lamb of God. We are learning what it means to be broken and humble in the small things. How encouraging. Imagine the big things that God must be planning for our lives in the future to glorify Himself.
The School of Discipleship January 2013 year is coming to a close and we are now officially studying our last book together as a class. But, not only are we studying it, but we are going to be teaching it, Lord willing! Yes, you read that right! We as School of Discipleship students have the amazing opportunity to facilitate class! I know that it will be a huge challenge, but in that, it will help me to depend on my Saviour more, and help me grow deeper in my relationship with Him! Yet another benefit to this is, as Susan said, we will get way more out of the lessons we teach, than what we ever have before! This year has been absolutely amazing! I have learned a lot and I praise my Heavenly Father for all that He has done in my life as a result.
“Jesus, I need to give myself up. I am not strong enough to love You and walk with You on my own. I can’t do it, and I need You. I need You deeply and desperately. I believe You are worth it, that You are better than anything else I could have in this life or the next. I want You. And when I don’t, I want to want You. Be all in me. Take all of me. Have Your way with me.” ~Francis Chan
This is my heart’s desire!
The School of Discipleship class here in Canada just recently finished reading Charles Swindoll’s, The Grace Awakening. One point Swindoll made had to do with the significance of giving others the freedom to be who they are.
The way I was best able to apply and more fully understand his point was by imagining what it will be like if I have kids someday. I hope I would be a parent who imparts wisdom and disciplines my children when necessary, but also one who gives them the freedom to be who they are, as well as the room to make mistakes.
I think that this practice of letting others be can be applied not only to parent-child relationships, but to friendships and marriages as well. While there may be times for speaking words of caution and correction to our loved ones, I believe there will also be times when the best thing we can do is to just let them be.