Recently I started reading Cultivating a Life for God, by Neil Cole. It's making me think. I like books that make me think. I don't like books that make me think. You know what I mean?
I'm still thinking, but I wanted to process a bit now, so you get the joy of reading a "processing post". Cultivating a Life for God is a book about discipleship. It's not just about a formula per se, but it does examine how the church in the United States handles discipleship and the ways it is lacking. It also shares principles that can be put into action to lead to growth in making disciples.
A primary principle is that growth of any kind comes from God and not by the efforts of anyone else. I can't make myself grow, nor can I make anyone else grow. God is the source of life transforming power. The best way I can reach out to someone is to tell them about how God's life transforming power has worked in my life. It's simply sharing what has happened in my life. AND simply sharing that with people I'm in contact with.
Take a look at the ninth chapter of John sometime. It's the chapter that tells us about a blind man that was healed by Jesus and then brought to the Pharisees because Jesus healed him on the Sabbath. This man's life was touched by God's life transforming power, and because of this he could see for the first time in his life. And he could probably see many things clearer than those that had been "seeing" for all of their lives. This is the type of man that Neil Cole says has a great opportunity. He simply has to tell people the people he hung out with the way that Jesus changed his life.
But why does what is simple seem so hard? When have you last shared with someone how Jesus changed your life? Does anyone else struggle in this area? Are any of you like me- You know you were blind, but God's grace reached you at such a young age that it's hard to remember what it was like to be blind and your world was so small anyway that the blindness didn't seem so crippling? I know I have a great story, because it's God's work and what was once dead is now alive, but it just doesn't seem to have the punch that other stories have. I don't really want to trade my experience, but at the same time, I wish I could better express to someone just how life transforming Jesus is with some pretty exciting black and white examples.
To make the simple seem even less simple, I seem to have created a "Christian" bubble around me. This is even more true since becoming a SAHM. It's hard to find someone to share with in the context of a meaningful relationship.
As I share all this, I know that God has given me a story nonetheless. It is a story that is amazing because the main character is about this incredible God who blows your mind away with the way He works. The story includes me, but really I'm not the main character. I'm there as Ephesians 2:7 says, "So God can point to us in all future ages as examples of the incredible wealth of his grace and kindness toward us, as shown in all that he has done for us who are united with Christ Jesus. (NLT). AND I know that He brings people my way and will continue to do so if I'm intentionally seeking to listen to His plans and obey Him.
BUT I'm still thinking and examining my heart. I hope my hard thinking will prompt you to do some hard thinking, too.
I'd love to know how God's story includes a chapter with your name on it. Feel free to tell that part of the story as a comment and let's give God all the glory!