Most people know that K.I.S.S is an acronym for “keep it simple, stupid.”
When it comes to discipleship we, being the church, tend to make it much more complicated than it needs to be. We like to look to experts, develop schemes and methodologies, seek quick tips and automated processes.
This is not how discipleship works. Discipleship is not complicated. It is simply about a relationship – our relationship with Jesus that informs and affects our human relationships.
Discipleship is not anymore complicated.
Think about how you developed the “friendships” and the deep, abiding relationships that sustain you. They all follow the same principles. Discipleship is not any more complicated.
Honesty – All relationships begin with honesty. We very carefully choose to to take a risk and share a little bit of ourselves with someone else. We choose to be honest. Next we wait and see what that person does with our honesty.
Trust – If they receive our honesty, with respect and authenticity, we begin to build trust. As we build trust, we take a few more relationship risks and become more transparent with the other person. We peel back the layers and slowly, over time reveal our true selves.
Love – Over time, with much energy poured into this other person, trust grows into love. This could be a romantic kind of love, but not necessarily. It may be a kind of love, like Jesus talked about in John 15:13 “Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends.” This relationship kind of love is seen in examples between brothers, siblings, parents and children.
Honesty builds trust, and trust builds love. It only happens over a significant amount of time, with equal parts of energy and transparency.
The truth of this process, in all relationship, is seen when we look at it from a reverse process of questions. Do we love someone we can not trust? Can we trust someone who is not honest with us? The obvious answer is no.
The graphic below may be helpful for those of us who are visual learners.
Relationships with Jesus follow this same pattern. The process from Jesus’ perspective is that He is always honest, He is always trustworthy and He deeply loves us. He proved his words from John 15:13 by willingly going to the cross.
From our side, we learn to journey with Jesus over time. We learn to take him at his word. We learn to trust in Him. We learn to love him. This process is best described as a journey. It takes significant time.
One last important point, that we shall explore in later posts, this discipleship process is demonstrated and designed to be done with other believers. It does not happen in isolation.
So in my post title, I stated that discipleship is about keeping it simple. This process is not complicated; rather it is life giving. It is not difficult, it is simplifying. It is understood in a few moments and practiced over a life time. And it is life transforming. Let’s journey together as we are transformed into the likeness of our Savior, Jesus. May we be covered in the dust of our Rabbi.