Thursday, October 9, 2008

How Does A Disciple Of Jesus Christ Live?

In these times of uncertainty, can you think of a more important question than this? If we claim to be followers of Jesus Christ should we not live as He did when He walked the earth? Dallas Willard has written an article and in part he answers this question:

"Living as Jesus’ disciple, I am learning from him how to lead my life in the Kingdom of the Heavens everywhere I am, in every activity I engage in. There are three dimensions of this learning.

First, I am learning to do the things which Jesus explicitly said to do. It is quite literally nonsense to call Jesus “Lord,” and not do what he said. “Lord” means nothing in such a case. (Luke 6:46-49) But because I do accept him as Lord, his instructions on behavior are my treasures for living life. Of course I cannot do what he said by just trying. I must train! I must, through appropriate courses of action, become inwardly transformed by grace to become the kind of person—in my inmost thoughts, feelings, attitudes and directions of will—who will routinely do the kinds of things he said to do. I will then not be governed by anger, contempt or lust. And I will be able to bless those who curse me, love my enemies, and so forth, because I am one in whom the character and power of Christ has come to dwell through the processes of discipleship to Christ.

Second, I am learning to conduct the usual activities of life—in home, school, community, business and government—in the character and power of Christ. Jesus himself, of course, spent most of his life on earth as an “independent contractor” or businessman. Jesus could have led the ordinary life of the ordinary citizen in all of its legitimate respects. He can show us how to live now, as a mother or father, banker or computer programmer, teacher or artist, in the Kingdom of the Heavens. His character and power and personal guidance will lead us into life as it should be in all of these areas of human existence.

Third, I am learning to exercise the power of the kingdom—of Christ in his Word and Spirit—to minister good and defeat evil in all of the connections of earthly existence. “God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and with power, and He went about doing good, and healing all who were oppressed by the devil; for God was with Him.” (Acts 10:38) Apprenticeship to Jesus means that, in tiny steps, we learn to exercise this power seen in Jesus. Growth in character is primary, for power requires substance of character if it is to be used for Christ’s purposes. Christ had no character problems, but we do. Prayer, in its aspect of training for Kingdom life, is primarily a matter of learning to exercise power in a way that is both profitable and safe. Through it, in the usual case, we take our first steps in “receiving abundance of grace” and “reigning in life by One, Jesus Christ.” (Rom. 5:17) So character is more important than power for us, but it does not replace power. The fruit of the Spirit (thoroughly Christlike character) flourishes only in a context of regular communal manifestation of the gifts of the Spirit. And this manifest power of the Spirit in life is not something restricted to “church services.” In this matter also, Jesus is our example and our teacher. He acted with the Kingdom wherever he was. The “rivers of living water” which, as he said “shall flow from the center of the believers life” (from his “belly,” John 7:38), will continually flow from us, as it did from him, wherever we may be."

Dr. Willard has provided a good answer to the question. He has combined the confession of discipleship with the action of discipleship. Our speaking words of submission to God are important but so are our actions in living out that confession. There are many good Biblical confessions we can make but they will all be wasted air unless they are accompanied by the action of faith. The action of faith describes the walk with the talk. We need to live as a disciple if we are going to say we are disciples; if we are not going to walk the talk, it would be better to be silent. Too many today talk Christianity but live a life based on human philosophy. Are you a disciple of Jesus Christ? If so, act like it.

No comments: