Category Archives: Relationships

A Call To Discipleship

Now more than ever, the words of Jesus herald truth…“A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.John 13:34-35”

The world needs disciples. What is not needed is more rhetoric, hate speech, divisive commentary, baiting of one side against another. The world needs Jesus. They way the world comes to experience Jesus is from His disciples.

Like so many, I add my voice to the fray of noise regarding the violence that we see played out in America. Senseless killing of individuals, regardless of color or ethnicity, a life lost is tragic. You may disagree, but then you may not claim the name of follower of Jesus.

Jesus chose to heal his attacker’s wounds. [And one of them struck the servant of the high priest, cutting off his right ear.
But Jesus answered, “No more of this!” And he touched the man’s ear and healed him. Luke 22:50-51]

Jesus chose to forgive the men driving the spikes through his wrists. [Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.” Luke 23:34]

No slight, no offense, no racial profile, no name calling is worth taking another person’s life. No one has been slighted, offended, profiled, racially slurred or called names more than Jesus. His path is not protest. His path is not angry words. His path is not violence. His path is forgiveness.

Instrumental to all of this is Jesus’ relationship with His Father. The second key is that Jesus chose. He chose to love his father, obey his father, honor his father. He chose these rather than his anger, hurt feelings, slighted ego, wounded spirit, selfish motives, entitlement attitude, and perceived rights.

There are all kinds of buzz and conversations happening at lunches, around the water cooler, in the break rooms, at the back yard BBQ’s. What if Jesus’ followers started acting like Jesus-followers and offered a word of forgiveness instead of jumping on the commentary wagon? What if Jesus-followers would go out of their way to be polite, smile, offer a helping hand, concentrate on building relationships that reflect Jesus?

Our broken, hurting world needs disciples of Jesus to be disciples; “love one another as I have loved you.” — Jesus

KISS Principle for Discipleship -or- It’s All About Relationships

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.

Relationship Steps

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.