How Do We Live As Disciples of Christ?
Last week I wrote about living in the truth instead of the narrative: the narrative is the story that we have been taught by our culture, our parents, and through our own experience—it is what we want to have happen in our lives. And now this week, I turn to what happens in our lives when we do go for the truth, the whole truth of our lives and how we are to live them.
In our love and devotion to God, we must turn to God in everything, for He is the source of everything positive in our lives. He created us to be a certain way, unique, but also, one of His. He has a design for each of our lives, which He will begin to reveal to us when we are starting down the road to loving Him. And as we walk with Him, guided by Him, we will begin to see how He shapes our lives and supplies just what we need.
It takes quite a while for us to be totally invested in God, without any attention to the narrative or the worldly lens through which we used to look at life. Bit by bit, as we are able to turn over the challenging and painful things in our lives, as we begin to realize how untrue our narrative is, we begin to feel freer and freer of all the old outer standards that we assumed for ourselves. Then we can then engage with what God is showing us about our lives and the direction He has in store for us. We begin to experience His presence which brings nothing but joy! We learn to surrender to what He suggests and to embrace all the challenges He brings into our lives as the next lesson for us to learn.
All these changes result from giving our lives over to Him and beginning to follow His suggestions for us from His “still small voice” [1 Kings 19:12], Hi Indwelling Spirit. As we notice the changes He creates in us through healing and transforming our inner beings, we gather more and more faith in His leading us to the purpose which will fulfill our lives. We come more and more to depend on his inspiration and less and less on the world’s attempts at containing us in its vision.
Even as we live in faith and trust in His direction, there are still circumstances that can throw us right back into the narrative. Recently, I’ve been doing Physical Therapy on one knee and taking a seven-week course, titled “What it means to be white.” I haven’t been walking at all and have been seriously introspective about my own racism and our nation. All this has thrown me off my writing schedule as I saw it. Finally, after a few weeks of struggling, I heard the Lord say that I was not to write the book I’ve spent a year and a half researching for the duration of this course. And I was relieved. I had been so dependent on my response to these two things and not thinking about what the Lord wanted for me. So now I am at peace again. I’ll start writing my book again when the course is over (and the PT, too).
So often, we have no idea of how God wants us to proceed, we only have what we have been taught and assumed to be our way—that’s the narrative. But now if we are just following the Lord, we are not feeling tied to the world’s view of life at all. And that makes all the difference. So, what do we experience as we follow God’s lead? Joy, blessings, peace and love–living in His presence brings us love and compassion, forgiveness and mercy in our lives. And what have we lost? Anxiety, fear, anger, judgment—all the dis-eases of the world.
So, without the influence of the world, we live in joy, love, assurance, faith, trust, love and forgiveness, purpose and fulfillment. We live the Fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22-23): “Love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. And that’s not the ‘self-control’ that is squelching who we are, but the humility of living in God’s kingdom here on earth. With humility, we know that we are not above or below any other human being, no matter what our differences are. We know that we are loved just as we are. And then, we live in a wholly different way than we used to. We no longer live on the surface of our lives, projecting who we are in this life to promote ourselves; we live in the depths of ourselves: heart, soul, mind and body joined together with the Holy Spirit.
And what we do and say has only to do with God’s kingdom, not our own way of looking at life, only with God’s ways. As imperfect human beings we can expect that we will step out of the kingdom and back into the narrative when things are challenging us. But, we will soon recognize what we are doing, either right away, or maybe after a while, but then we can reaffirm our love for and our commitment to God and step right back into the kingdom.
Being in the kingdom feels like being found, like coming home at last, after a lifetime of uncertainty, anxiety and trying to find our place. In the kingdom we join our fellow human beings, all made in the image of God, all equally loved and cared for by our God.
- I am giving away a 10-week journaling guide to Jesus’s Two Great Commandments. If you are interested, email me at email@example.com I will send it to you, free of charge.
- My latest book, Called to Help the Poor and Needy,is now in bookstores and on line. It’s about the more than 2,000 verses in the Bible which detail God’s instructions for caring for those in need.
Questions to ponder over the week: Am I truly a follower, a disciple of Christ, or am I still faithful to the narrative? What would I have to give up to begin to live in the truth? Or what more must I do to continue to follow Christ now?
Blessing for the week: May we be the people of God who follow His son in everything that we do. May we turn our backs on the narrative that we used to cling to and embrace the journey ahead of us toward love, forgiveness, mercy and compassion.
See more blog posts and offerings at patsaidadams.com.
Check out my other website, deepeningyourfaith.com, for information about spiritual practices and more writings about the spiritual life. New posts every month. 10.18.21’s is entitled “Grounding Ourselves in Jesus Christ.” Sign up to receive these as monthly emails at the website.