We are all learners.
As we scroll through social media, as we listen to podcasts, as we watch YouTube videos, or sit in trainings at work, we are learning.
This is in essence what a disciple is: someone who is learning from someone else.
- Maybe you’re a disciple of Instagram?
- Maybe you’re a disciple of NPR?
- Maybe you’re a disciple of AOC or Cardi B?
- Maybe you’re a disciple of your boss?
We are being formed by people and things that are discipling us.
Our character and quality is being shaped as we are discipled.
Who or what is discipling you?
You will seek after what is discipling you.
- You buy their latest books.
- You watch their latest YouTube videos.
- You follow their latest trends.
This isn’t inherently a bad thing.
But it can become a problematic thing if we are seeking after empty things.
The Prophet Jeremiah says it this way:
We take on the quality of what we seek after. The Prophet cautions us about seeking after worthlessness. Worthlessness i.e. emptiness or that which does not sustain.
If who or what we seek after is consuming us and not sustaining us, then we evaluate: who or what is discipling me?
The Prophet Jeremiah continues:
Our pursuit of worthlessness, can lead us to become addicted to it.
Have you had to take a “social media fast” because you sensed you were becoming addicted to it?
The Prophet Poet Allen Ginsburg illustrates this problematic pursuit of seeking after worthlessness:
“I saw the best minds of my generation destroyed by madness, starving hysterical naked, dragging themselves through the negro streets at dawn looking for an angry fix angelheaded hipsters burning for the ancient heavenly connection to the starry dynamo in the machinery of the night.”
When emptiness disciples us, we become empty.
We are far removed from the full, whole, and alive selves that God designed us to become. Our character and quality are gutted. We are not formed into our fullest God-designed selves.
Which bring us to the question…
How do I make sure that I’m being formed into my fullest self?
As image bearers of God, we are our fullest selves when we look like Jesus.
“as he is so also are we in this world” – 1 John 4:17b
As I seek to be a faithful disciple of Rabbi Jesus, there are 3 important ways that Jesus has been forming me into my fullest self that may also help you be formed into your fullest self.
1. Allow Scripture to shape the script of your life
A Jewish Rabbi once said:
“You cannot be a disciple of Jesus unless you’re reading your Rabbi once a week.”
Just as we seek after the latest books, YouTube videos, and trends of the others who are discipling us, we ought to seek after our Rabbi Jesus. We ought to know his words and to embody his ways. As we read the Scripture, we trace his path through the gospel narratives and we are formed into his likeness.
As I follow Jesus footprints through Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John, the Lord rewires many of the false constructs and paradigms I’ve prescribed to and brings me into new life.
How does the Scripture shape the script of your life?
2. Create moments of silence and solitude to hear God’s voice
God will not compete with your noise. Yet, God longs to speak to you in the stillness. I have a friend who says:
“God’s voice is silence.”
We live in such a noisy, hurried culture. Both when we’re with people and when we’re not with people. I live alone and I often have Netflix on in the background, just so the silence won’t sound so deafening at times. But I’m learning the sweet taste of silence and solitude. Knowing that God never imposes upon me, but longs to speak, if I’ll give space to listen.
I’ve sat silently with the Lord many times and found myself weeping as the Lord speaks directly into my soul’s needs. With a voice that is beyond words, the Lord is forming me. Transforming me. Shaping me into the image of Jesus for the sake of the world around me.
How can you make space to hear God’s voice?
3. Devote yourself to people who shape you around the good news
One of my friends recently painted a beautiful picture of true Christ-centered relationships. She shared that there ought to be an accountability we are held to living into the gospel in our lives. As we are being shaped personally, we are also being shaped communally. Jesus is Lord of me and Jesus is Lord of us.
Our most precious “resource” is time. I lived my entire 20s filling every moment up with something to do. Usually work-related. I knew a lot of people, spent a lot of time around people, was discipled by a lot people, but wasn’t shaped around the good news by all those people.
“God is working in the entire cosmos, but the clustered, covenanted, and committed people of God are his primary plan for expressing Jesus’ prayer, ‘may God’s will be done on earth as it is in heaven.’” – Dan White Jr.
We are shaped by the people we are “clustered, covenanted, and committed” to and shaped for the greatest mission of all time: God’s will on earth as in heaven. If we want to do God’s will, we need to be devoted to the people of God.
Who are the people you are devoted to that are shaping you around the good news?
We are just 7 weeks away from the end of the decade and from the beginning of a new decade. No doubt you have learned a lot this year. No doubt your character and quality has been formed this year. My prayer for you, even as you read this, is that you’ve been a learner with Rabbi Jesus. But if you haven’t, there is still an opportunity to become a learner of Jesus, to receive by faith through grace the gift of salvation and the invitation to become a disciple. Receive him now. Rabbi Jesus formes us into our fullest selves – the image of God for the sake of the world.
- How has Jesus formed you this year?
- How might he be inviting you to be formed in 2020?
Together, let’s live alive,