In a previous post I shared some disappointing statistics that suggested there is very little difference between the lives of those in the church and those outside it. I believe the reason our faith has so little impact on our action is a lack of authentic disciples.
Discipleship is surrendering to God the Father’s will and walking in Jesus’ presence constantly.
This leads to life in the kingdom of God because it transforms my inner character through the power of the Holy Spirit so that I become the person God created me to be.
One of our struggles with practicing discipleship as defined above is a single word, constantly. A couple years ago a question was asked to a panel discussion at the Wheaton Theology Conference that illustrate this point. Two consecutive people in fact asked about how we can experience spiritual formation in the busyness of life. One particular question was how to engage in spiritual formation in the midst of being a working parent.
I don’t mean to judge these questions harshly. I get it. Being the father of a little goober, I understand that busyness is taken to a new level when children enter the equation. Busyness is a real and major roadblock in the life of a disciple, but these questions betray an even deeper, more sinister opponent to the life of a disciple, segmentation.
Many of us today live segmented lives. We have a family life, a work life, an intellectual life, emotional life, and spiritual life. We try to separate out our emotional, physical, mental and spiritual lives. In each area we act differently, we speak differently and think differently. This is normal and to a certain extent necessary. I am not going to talk to my boss the same way I talk to my son. That would just be weird. But separating our different “lives” becomes a problem when we act as if one “life” doesn’t impact another, specifically when we restrict our “spiritual lives” to designated moments.
When we ask, “How can I engage in discipleship when I have these competing tasks and duties?” are we saying that we cannot engage in discipleship WHILE attending to these duties? It is true, we do need times set aside for practices that cannot be done while sitting in a meeting or chasing around a little monster, but let’s not make the mistake of believing that we are only disciples in these moments.
We are not called to practice discipleship but to BE disciples. If disciple is a part of our identity, it means we cannot leave the activities of being a disciple at home when we leave for work any more than we can leave our heads or hearts at home. Being a disciple means bringing every element of our lives into connection with the vine. Following Jesus is not a to-do, something we can check off a list. Being a disciple means bringing the entirety of our lives into relationship and the transforming presence of God.