Being one of Jesus’ earliest disciples would not have been boring. Think of all the crazy things the twelve Apostles witnessed: the blind seeing, demons cast out, the dead raised back to life. And that’s all before encountering the resurrected Christ. Following the rabbi from Nazareth would have been an adventure, to say the least.
Discipleship is meant to be the same: an adventure. Part of the value of identifying People of Peace, for example, is that ministry ceases to be primarily an event we schedule into our calendar or a trip to a third world country. Those are both good (and even great) things, but Jesus taught his disciples thateverymomentis a potential intersection with the Reign of God. A person of peace, for example, can P.O.P. into our lives (see what I did there?) at any moment. Each new day is a day for becoming grounded in ouradoption and focused on loving others as an ambassador of God’s Kingdom. Each new day is a day for asking, “Jesus, what are we up to together today?” Indeed, The Grounded Life, anchored in Scripture and prayer, is meant to keep us centered in these realities of adoption and a life of generous compassion. But a life of ministry—of learning to love and focus on others, transcending the natural self-focus which weighs down our lives—takes intentionality. Beyond that, it takescourage.
John Wimber,founder of the Vineyard movement, famously said that faith is spelled “R-I-S-K.” In other words, we often practice our faith by doing things we aren’t entirely comfortable with. “Life begins at the end of your comfort zone.” Oftentimes, so does faith. Our natural human desire for stability and routine resists getting out of the boat of comfort; our ego does not want to be out of control. But we all want adventure, too, so we are caught between our desire for stability, which makes us play it safe, and our desire for something wild and exciting, which demands that we take risks. If tension is the only path by which we are transformed, well… risk is certainly full of tension and it’s often necessary for transformation. I remember an admonition, read on some inspirational quote board on the Internet: “Each day, do one thing you’re terrified of.” Personally, I’d prefer to make it each week, but it’s good advice if you care about transformation. Disciples are those who place the development of their souls above development of their comfort.
Indeed, we don’t grow unless we are pressing into the places we are tempted to avoid, the places we fear. It’s always this way with faith, which is why true faith is never easy, as Jesus himself says. “Going to church” is very different than this type of faith; in fact, “going to church” can sometimes dissuade us from a life of faith. It’s easy and common to be a part of a church without actually having to follow Jesus. If we do follow Jesus, he will no doubt call us to do things that are uncomfortable: having a conversation with a friend who’s offended us, engaging our own emotional wholeness with a counselor, crossing the street to meet a new neighbor, inquiring about the stories of a lonely person in need of an ear.For the sake of our thriving and our transformation, The Holy Spirit constantly calls us to do things that require courage. This is all so that we can live in the fullness of God’s Kingdom. And he will call us to risk in how we love others.
For all of these readings in one place, order my book 'Learning to Live and Love Like Jesus.'
A phrase he used often. See Power Healing by John Wimber with Kevin Springer. HarperSanFrancisco, San Francisco, CA. 1987. Page 217.
Seen on a magnet in my mother-in-law’s kitchen and often attributed to Neale Donald Walsch.
If, for example, a church culture is more focused on teaching us to “be right” or “be safe” than to follow Jesus (which happens quite a bit).