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Discipleship Deferred?

Through this year we have reflected a number of times on the main method Jesus uses to help us grow in discipleship.  We see it clearly in the gospels where time and time again Jesus uses various moments - the transfiguration, forgotten lunches, and arguments among the disciples - to bring teaching and change into the lives of his disciples. 

Since Jesus is the same today we can expect that the main way we learn and grow is through processing these moments of our lives (be they big or small, positive or negative).  The way we do this is by changing our thinking and then changing our actions through a process of observation, reflection, discussion, planning, accounting and acting. (see this blog entry and these sermons part 1 & 2)

However, just because a kairos moment occurs in our lives doesn't mean that learning and growth is guaranteed.  There are some responses that can prevent the learning:

  • Stop it happening again (this is response at a functional or surface level that doesn't touch issues of our view of God or our own identity
  • Avoid personal implications by not owning the experience (this may involve focusing on other people - 'they are responsible for me feeling this way' or 'I am upset so they need to change'
  • Continue as best we can which is stoicism (we bury or swallow our kairos experience and soldier on)
Now all of us probably have these responses at different times.  However if they become more of a repeating pattern or habit, we begin to experience the hidden costs of deferred discipleship:
  • No discipleship benefits of peace, freedom and spiritual strength
  • Failure to thrive
  • Chronic immaturity
  • Getting stuck.
If you identify the beginnings of any of these things in your life, can I encourage you to commit yourself again to learning from the moments of your life.  It will help if you have a conversation with a trusted Christian friend and ask them to help you in that process.

David Wanstall, 05/11/2008