Wednesday, February 16, 2011

pattern for Christian maturity

Be imitators of me, as I am of Christ.
1 Corinthians 11:1

This is the standard for discipleship. The pattern that Paul used in helping people understand what they needed to do as followers of Jesus was his own growth in Christ. They were to imitate him, as he imitated Christ. This is a high calling. It is what is supposed to build the church into the spiritual, personal, and moral example that it is supposed to be in the world. And it takes place one life at a time. It is imitation of Christ.

I am as guilty as the rest of the evangelical culture of being a sucker for the latest program. And there is a vast publishing empire in American evangelicalism that seeks to exploit this tendency. I don't always think it is a good thing. I am generally abhorrent of Christian trends for this very reason: They lack the personal mentoring element mentioned by Paul. They are built on hype (40 days of this or that), or on celebrity (evangelicals practically invented celebrity culture in the 18th and 19th centuries in America... and it is accepted today), or on curriculum (buy this book or DVD or study guide on everything from stewardship to parenting... even sex. Yes... I have seen a Christian cookbook). And I just can't see Paul running around in the middle of this kind of circus... not with the statement of this verse in mind.

The beauty of Christianity is its powerful simplicity. It is life changing, but in a personal, quiet, relational way. We come to faith by the message delivered by a person. We grow in faith by obeying the truth of God's Word, usually under the impact and influence of another person. That is God's plan. And when the mentor and the disciple both set their eyes on Christ, the outcome is powerful, beautiful, Christian faith. And it impacts the culture and the world one life at a time. This is the kind of simple truth around which I want to passionately build my life.

- Prepare your minds for action.
1 Peter 1:13

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