Full of Grace & Truth in our Neighborhood = Discipleship

John 1:14 NIV “The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the One and Only, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.”

John 1:14 MSG “The Word became flesh and blood, and moved into the neighborhood. We saw the glory with our own eyes, the one–of–a–kind glory, like Father, like Son. Generous inside and out, true from start to finish.”

Discipleship is all about becoming more like Jesus. Contrary to most current Christian “religions” where following Jesus has been reduced to belief, this is translated into all I have to do is believe in my mind the right things. Contrast this to real discipleship that espouses a fides in libro actio (faithfulness in word and deed).

John 1:14 tells us about the person and deity of Jesus, who we are striving to be like. From this translation and paraphrase we gain insight into three important parts of discipleship; relationships, grace and truth.

One of the blogs that I follow, Conversation for Transformation, by Casey Tygrett, had this to say about truth:

    It makes me feel better to sit secure in my rightness and “truth” you from afar, than to actually understand you as imago dei (created in the image of God), just like me, and sit with you for a while until the truth comes out.

    So here’s a suggestion: if we are going to do truth in the context of love, then we shouldn’t try and “truth” someone that we can’t have coffee with. We shouldn’t truth someone that we can’t talk to about their story, that we can’t listen to well and learn where they may be coming from.

You can read the full blog here: Why Love is Harder Than Truth

Most often the church likes to gravitate toward “truth” because it is easier. It is much easier to speak against homosexuality than it is to face your son or daughter who has come out of hiding. It is much easier to speak against abortion than it is to build a relationship with a young woman who has bought into the lies of the world about body image, sexuality, responsibility and individual rights. It is much easier to speak truth to strangers and people I don’t know, because I do not have a relationship with them. Showing grace is really needed in the context of building relationships. Relationships only happen when we are honest over extended periods of time.

Jesus, made his dwelling with us. He moved into our neighborhood. From His vantage point of a perfect relationship with the Father and Spirit, He build relationships with humans to model for us what relationships are. Jesus then fully embodied grace for a hurting humanity and truth that an enslaved humanity needed to be free.

In our discipleship journey, where have we “moved into someone’s neighborhood” simply because we care about them? Discipleship looks like this: We care so much for Jesus, that we care for them. We begin to build that relationship. We know that truth/Jesus would move into their lives if he were here, but we know that He has us, so we exercise our grace/Jesus and move in.

In our discipleship journey, where are speaking truth from afar because of the difficulty of practicing grace up close?

In our discipleship journey, where are we failing to speak truth because of the difficulty of not having a strong enough relationship?

As always, I welcome your comments and questions as we journey together to become more like Jesus.