You might ask, “where do you get your ideas for these blog posts?” And here is my latest experience: last Sunday our Adult Sunday School Class was led by our minister, Rev. John Cleghorn, who at one point said, “You know, disciple means learner.” That definition stayed with me all day Sunday and that’s how I knew that I had the topic for this week’s post. It wasn’t that a minister said that in my hearing, but that the Holy Spirit was playing with it in my mind that told me that this was the topic I was to write about for this week.
I gave my life to Christ almost forty years ago and the one thing I have learned for sure is that giving my life to Christ was only the beginning of a long education, a schooling in all that the Lord wanted me to give up—all that was clearly standing between me and my ability to love God with all of who I am. As I have surrendered issue after issue, as He healed me of the trauma and difficulties of my life, as I could see the difference in how I felt and lived and acted, I began to think that our lifetimes on earth are a school for us human beings that teaches how to be true to our Creator, how to truly love. And as the years went on and the lessons continued to arise in me, I began to realize, too, that there is no arrival point in our lifetimes here that say, “you’ve done it!” “You can relax now!” “You’ve totally given yourself over to the Lord!” And I began to think that maybe it is only at our death that we “graduate” to the fullness of loving God with all our heart, all our soul, all our mind and all our strength. [Matt 22:34-40, Mark 12:28-34, Luke 10:25-28]
Being a disciple means being a “student, follower, committed learner and follower.” And this is what we learn(not necessarily in this order):
- Who Jesus Christ, God and the Holy Spirit are and what they mean to us.
- How to go from being self-centered to God-centered, from world-centered to God-centered.
- How to see the action, the blessings and the grace of God in this world and particularly in our lives.
- How to love God with all of ourselves, how to love our all neighbors and ourselves, showing our love of God.
- What would fulfill our lives, as God made us to be.
- How to be loving, at peace, with joy and patience, good, kind, faithful, gentle and humble in this world, to all we meet. [Gal 5:22-3]
- How to commune with the Indwelling Spirit of God and to be guided by His suggestions throughout our days.
- How to live in the truth of who we are, how to forgive all who have harmed us.
- What our purpose is and how to fulfill it.
Just like the disciples followed Jesus and learned all they could from being with Him for those few years, so we are to follow the “still, small voice” [1 Kings 19:12] of the Holy Spirit, the Advocate[John 14:16] that Christ gave us, wherever He would lead us. As I say, for me it’s been almost 40 years and there is still a lot for me to learn.
So, growing into the knowledge of God and ourselves and learning what God would have us learn and be is the dynamic life of a disciple of Jesus Christ. We are to be growing in our love and understanding of what this life is to be and what we are called to do. It is not a once-and-done decision we make to follow Jesus. That decision to follow is only the beginning. There are 10,000 surrenders along the way(a whole lot!). One way to judge our growth over time is this: if you’re still thinking the way you have always thought and still doing what you always did, then you are not open to the ways of the Holy Spirit. He would not let you be content with today’s understanding and knowledge—there is always room in us to grow tomorrow and all our tomorrows into the knowledge of God and what He would like to see done and said in our lives.
So, read the Bible, asking the Holy Spirit to reveal what it means to you this day and what it says about your life. Pray, asking the Holy Spirit throughout your day, “what should I focus on next and what should I say and do?” Turn to God in everything. And you will see how He wants you to grow in love and wisdom. For that is the great blessing of this life in Christ: that throughout our lives we will grow and change and grow into the fullness of His vision He had for us at the moment of our creation.
Questions to ponder over the week: Am I aware of the changes God is making in me by way of healing and transforming some of my difficult experiences in life? Do I ask God’s help in changing things about me? Do I follow His suggestions for issues I need to look at now? Do I feel like I’m in a school learning all I can about God and me and life itself?
Blessing for the week: May we be the people of God who are in the process of being healed and transformed into people who can love God with all of ourselves and our neighbor as we love our selves. May we have our eyes and ears attuned to His suggestions for us throughout our days.
If you’d like to receive my blog five days a week in your email, go to patsaidadams.com/by-the-waters-blog/. There is a gift waiting for you.
Check out my other website, deepeningyourfaith.com, for information about spiritual practices and more writings about the spiritual life. New posts every month. 10.12.20s titled “The Very Real Challenges of the Spiritual Life.” Sign up to receive these as monthly emails at the deepening website.
 Goodrich & Kohlenberger, Zondervan NIV Exhaustive Concordance, 2nd Edition, Zondervan Publishing House, Grand Rapids MI, 1999, Strong’s #3412, p. 1568