Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Full Cycle Disciple

Written Wednesday evening, revised Thursday morning.  

It was too hot to go biking today, and since I've moved to the country I haven't been on my bicycle much at all, but I do know that you can't get very far on half a wheel.  Even a unicycle needs a whole tire.  Can't get far on half.

A disciple is a follower, but more.  I can follow someone without actually doing what the one I'm following is doing.  To be a disciple, follow through.  To be a disciple, I get up on that cycle and ride.

I don't remember, as a young kid, the first time I got up on a bike, though I do remember having training wheels.  I do remember taking the training wheels off my own children's bicycles.  Like I "got it" somehow, so did they.  But they never would have if they hadn't dared to try.  You learn by doing.  And there's no other way.  Try to explain riding a bike to someone who's never done it.

Try explaining how you can feel secure when there's nothing to keep you from falling.  Until you've actually done it, you will not understand.

That's what Jesus is saying in Mark 4.  Somehow, at some point in my life, the message of God's truth and love started to make sense.  I don't remember just when that was.  Because for my parents God's Word was precious and good, it was probably very early in my life when I began to accept what Jesus had to say to me.  Maybe even before I learned to ride a bike.  And for me, though there are times when I resist God's truth, mostly I'm hungry for it.  Mostly I want to know what God has to say.

How did that happen?  How is it that I've been open to God's truth, God's love, and God's sometimes stern correction in my life?  For me it was probably my parents that guided me through the cycle of hearing God's Word even when it hurt.  They ran beside me long enough that I would know that I would not fall, and if I did, I would be okay.  They were God's corrective and loving voice, and they were not content to just have me hear what they had to say.  They did all they could to lovingly help me to adjust and change and live in a way that was more in line with the Lord's will.

Last night Marcus Haug from North Heights came to Cokato and laid out a plan that will help adults do for one another what my parents did for me.  Because the truth is that the Word of God keeps meeting resistance in my hard and rocky and weedy attitudes and I need to be supported as I repent and then adjust my life to live more and more in harmony with God's Word, or, as Marcus said, to "look more like Jesus" day by day, week by week, year after year.

But I do get it now.  I can get up and ride.  I can repent and believe.  I know what it feels like.  God isn't finished with me, but I am a disciple.  I'm not just following along.  And I'll let the wheel of God's word turn all the way around.  I'll let it examine me, and I will change.  I will learn.  Even though I sometimes need you to help, I will follow through.  And I'll help you too.  Together we can be disciples all around.

But, and this is one of the main points of Jesus' teaching in Mark 4, this is not understood by those who will not "get up and ride."  If all we do is think and talk when we are met by God's Word, if we don't follow through with decision and action, none of this will make any sense.  That's what Jesus means in verses 10-12 of Mark 4, when he speaks about those who do not and in fact can not believe, calling them "those outside."  Like riding a bike, life in relationship with Jesus will never be understood by those who have never dared to try.

What do you think?  Can you see how unless "faith" moves to action and experience, there can be no understanding?  We then pray that they will be truly changed and born again, that they will surrender and submit and ride.  Unless they become new people, they will never understand.

Let's talk about this.  I'm not sure if I'm being clear or helpful. 
Mark 4:10-12

When Jesus was alone, those who were around him along with the twelve asked him about the parables. And he said to them, ‘To you has been given the secret of the kingdom of God, but for those outside, everything comes in parables; in order that
     “they may indeed look, but not perceive,
      and may indeed listen, but not understand;
      so that they may not turn again and be forgiven.” ’

For more on the subject of "Full Cycle Discipleship," see other posts on this blog about the "circle" or "kairos" moments by clicking ►here◄.  (Colored words in this blog are links.)

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