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Discipleship basics: Three things Jesus did that we don’t

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We think it’s just Bible study and prayer, but it’s so much more. Jesus did a few basic things with his disciples that we don’t do – things so fundamental they’re like blocking and tackling. Too many of us modern disciples get caught up running dipsy-doodle plays when we haven’t gone thru th…
By Seth Barnes

We think it’s just Bible study and prayer, but it’s so
much more. Jesus did a few basic things with his disciples that we don’t do –
things so fundamental they’re like blocking and tackling. Too many of us
modern disciples get caught up running dipsy-doodle plays when we haven’t gone
thru the basics of training camp.

Here they are:

teach
1. He required
and taught
abandonment.

This
is necessary to acquire spiritual eyes and become more fully dependent on God
and eventually enter into a walk of consecration resulting in a
calling.

Jesus himself went into the desert and he sends so many
of us there. Paul went to Arabia before he ever got sideswiped by the Spirit
and sent to Macedonia. It’s in the desert of
abandonment that we get stripped of all preconceptions and bad habits and get
remade in God’s image.

If you haven’t been to some metaphorical desert where
Jesus has invited you to leave your old affections and habits behind, you’ve
missed a foundation stone in your discipleship.

You must be stripped before you can be clothed.

2. He practiced
personal
discipling
– Jesus limited himself to a few
one-to-one relationships. He invested in a few people and gave
them an understanding of who the Father is with skin on. People need to
experience love to know God. As someone invests in us, we have our identities
remade. We see ourselves reflected in the Father’s image thru a relationship
with someone who is already more or less “walking in oneness with the Father.”
We’re like Conrad Lorenz’s goslings – we imprint. We see and follow someone
(almost anyone really) who takes the time to nurture us.

There is ananthropomorphic tendency in humans that
seems to be hard-wired into us. Why else do 800+ people follow a wacko like Jim
Jones down to Guyana? They thought they saw
something of the Father in him. Jesus said, “You’ve seen the Father; you’ve
seen me.” I don’t think he was just talking about his divine nature. I think
he was talking about this mystery that we are made in God’s image and somehow
reflect the divine, like the moon reflects the sun. It boggles my mind how that
works. I’m still learning about this – I really think there’s a lot I still
don’t understand about it.

3.
He imparted
spiritual authority.

You need spiritual authority
in order to exercise the power to do what the disciples did in Luke 9 and 10 (see the article Sons of Sceva: Wielding true spiritual authority for more on this).
You get to “do the stuff.” Having seen the Father (that is, seen him with the
eyes of your heart), you have confidence in his authority and become confident
as his representative in this dark world. You are equipped go up against demons
that want to kill you.

You appropriate his power to
address the issues of injustice and begin to tap his deep wells of compassion
for those who are in despair, healing them and setting them free. This begins
with ministry to the poor in spirit – those looking for hope. And it is these
very poor who themselves in time eventually infiltrate leadership of all
institutions in a society. Jesus is patient – his revolution can sweep a nation
like Mozambique in a few years, or he can
wait a generation or two until someone is hungry enough to discover this secret
of spiritual authority.

So here’s how the process works: When you’ve returned
from your desert of abandonment, You’re imprinted with the Father’s light
reflected in someone else. You begin to get comfortable in your new skin. Why?
Because someone who looks like Jesus has invested in you, it’s time to start
reaching out to others with the hope of the coming kingdom. And you do this in
partnership with the Spirit using the authority he’s given
you.

Jesus did all three of these
things and we don’t. Add to this his investment of 15,000 hours over three years in a few people,
and you’ve got a model that we moderns rarely replicate. But, like
archaeologists, we can still excavate and recover his original model.
It’s all quite marvelous.

See the “How to Disciple” topic on my blog for more on this topic.

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