Wed, April 29 2020

Jesus in Everyday Life

For the last few years we have been using the language set that has been adopted by many to describe our apprenticeship (or discipleship) to Jesus: Being with Jesus, becoming like Jesus, and doing what Jesus did...remembering that we are active participants in our sanctification (fancy word for looking more and more like Jesus in our everyday lives).

This language has been an extremely helpful framework for us to build practices and habits that move us with intentionality towards Christlikeness. That is what we want to spend this time of quarantine doing. We have identified a few key areas that we want to highlight in our discipleship to Jesus in these weeks and months but we wanted to take a minute this morning to put our attention to what we are working towards.

From Eugene Peterson: One aspect of world that I have been able to identify as harmful to Christians is the assumption that anything worthwhile can be acquired at once. We assume that if something can be done at all, it can be done quickly and efficiently. Our attention spans have been conditioned by thirty-second commercials. Our sense of reality has been flattened by thirty-page abridgments. It is not difficult in such a world to get a person interested in the message of the gospel; it is terrifically difficult to sustain the interest. Millions of people in our culture make decisions for Christ, but there is a dreadful attrition rate. Many claim to have been born again, but the evidence for mature Christian discipleship is slim. In our kind of culture anything, even news about God, can be sold if it is packaged freshly; but when it loses its novelty, it goes on the garbage heap. There is a great market for religious experience in our world; there is little enthusiasm for the patient acquisition of virtue, little inclination to sign up for a long apprenticeship in what earlier generations of Christians called holiness.

The question that we will have to ask in our apprenticeship to Jesus is whether we are in it for the long haul or not. If we are, then one of the key devotions that needs to happen in our heart is a readiness for long obedience. A readiness for diligent effort. A readiness for discipline that shapes character, mindset and behavior. 

Exercise: Begin with the end in mind… What would you like to be true about your faith and character at the end of your life here on earth? Take a moment to ask the Lord what He desires for you. Maybe there are scriptures that come to mind or statements you have worked through in the past. Write those out (2-4 statements). 

If you need a place to start, here are some scriptures to pick through:        

- 2 Timothy 4:6-8
- Acts 20:24
- Philippians 3:12-16
- 1 Thess 2:19-20
- 1 Peter 5:10
- 1 John 2:15-17
- Jude 20-23
- Matthew 25:23
- Matthew 25:34-40

Take some time to pray over the finish you have in mind. Ask God:

What is something I can do today that would contribute to that end? Do that thing today.

Most answers to this question will be things we generally call “spiritual disciplines”. Disciplines are the practices we see in scripture and imitate from Jesus’ life that help us to be with Jesus, become like Jesus and do what Jesus did. 

Dallas Willard puts it this way, “Discipline is some activity in my power that enables me to accomplish what I cannot do by direct other words, something I can do that enables me to do what I cannot do by direct effort.”

In the coming days we will spend some time digging into some of those disciplines. We look forward to growing in Jesus more together!

Matt and Kristen