On Holistic Discipleship
One of the things that destroys true discipleship is a narrow perspective–one that believes being a Christian just means showing up to church now and then and possibly saying a prayer before you eat. If we are going to fulfill the biblical mandate of Jesus to make disciples we need to pursue a holistic perspective. What does that mean?
Holistic discipleship is concerned with every moment of every day.
Psalm 139 beautifully explains that God is with us in every moment. He is no more present with us when we are reading our Bible than when we are at a movie. We may be more present with Him in some moments than we are in others, but that doesn’t mean His level of interest changes. God wants to uniquely conform every part of our lives to Jesus.
In Colossians 3:17, Paul says whatever we do we should do it in the name of the Lord Jesus. In other words, your job, family, recreation, friendships, and rest all matter equally in regard to discipleship. But this isn’t necessarily the way we approach life..
It’s easy to assume that God cares about the “spiritual” parts of our lives and other than that He’s disinterested (except to keep watch to make sure we don’t sin). Do we really believe God cares about our jobs, our parenting, our recreation, and our rest? Often we don’t, but God has created us for all of these things. You were made to work. You were made to enter into relationships. God commands us to rest because he knows we need it.
This means playing with your kids is worship. Laying down and taking a nap is worship. Working hard at your job and doing it well is worship. These things are not necessarily worship, but when we approach them as things we do to the best of our ability, in line with how we are made, they can become that.
Holistic discipleship is about all of who you are.
In American Christianity we have a tendency to look at the leaders and assume that spiritual maturity is not only the godliness they hopefully reflect but also the personality they have. Introverts can assume godliness must mean being able to get up and talk in front of people. I once had a man tell me he hoped he would be spiritually mature enough to preach a sermon someday. I asked if he wanted to do that and he told me he didn’t but he believed that’s what spiritually mature people do. Through further discussion he is now ministering to people through presence and prayer both in his job delivering flowers and as a greeter on Sundays.
Our personalities and preferences are God-given. Being a disciple of Jesus doesn’t erase or change these, it just shapes them to be more like Jesus. Paul says our effectiveness is tied to our diversity (Romans 12). We lose effectiveness as disciples of Jesus and communities of faith when we do anything to rid ourselves of our God-given diversity.
Discipleship is the unique conformity of all you do and all you are to Jesus.
If you want to hear more on this topic you can go to this pageand click on the sermon entitled “The Part of Your Life God Doesn’t Care About”.