Thursday, November 17, 2011

Consistency or Perfection - Discipleship 155

Hollywood has totally messed us up.

In our quest to be entertained, we've allowed ourselves to be deceived by our entertainment. Most movies (even over-emphasized multi-movie sagas...ahem...TWILIGHT...BARF!!) pursue a happy ending to the story. Sure, the ending might have a sinister twist, but in some way shape or form, there is resolution to the protagonists quarrel with the antagonist.

Romance movies have been particularly harmful to our perception of reality. For some crazy reason, the girl and guy always seem to find each some sort of perfect, and most of the time unrealistic, fashion.

This quest for perfection also rears its' unrelenting, thirst-driven head in the realm of discipleship. For some reason we simply buy into the misconception that we need to be perfect to be a friend of God, and continue to be perfect once we've committed to this friendship. The problem is that we as human beings are incapable of perfection. If we could attain this illustrious status on our own, why would we ever want  or need to be friends with God?

I'm not advocating for a pursuit of life utilizing an abused grace type of mentality...meaning that if you are God's friend it's ok to do whatever you want. But what I am suggesting is that we need to replace the word perfection with the word consistency in our pursuit of discipleship, friendship and relationship with both God and people.

My children don't expect me to be perfect...and thank goodness for that! Thursday nights are normally date night in our home. There are weeks when I'm "on" and we have a super fun time together. But then there are weeks when I don't feel well, or I'm distracted by other things and my ability to invest heavily in our time together isn't what I think it should be. I wrestle with the notion that I must pursue a perfect date night with my kids week in and week out...believing the lie that my kids desire a perfect experience from me, rather than my consistent presence in their lives.

Discipleship is not about perfection, it's about consistency. Are you someone who consistently chooses to invest in the lives of others, or are you stuck waiting for the perfect opportunity to do so? Remember, we as humans are incapable of perfection, so if you're waiting for the perfect are going to be waiting a REAL LONG TIME my friend!! Get in the game. Be consistent and leave the perfection piece up to the only one that is...God.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Timing - Discipleship 154

My apologies for not posting last week...sometimes as thoughts are simmering they take time before they are ready to be served up and shared with others.

This past weekend I had the privilege of spending time connecting with youth while on retreat. One of the concepts we explored together was the thought of timing as it pertains to faith in Jesus Christ.

Timing is a key concept in our world today. Whether you are looking at sports, business, the arts, relationships or consumer culture...timing is evident in all of these venues. If a communications company releases its product behind that of its competitors and the product is inferior in some way, shape or form, the consumer reaction is one that leaves the company on the brink of irrelevance. If the athlete commits a false start, runs the incorrect route, jumps offside or mis-times a particular athletic feat...the results can determine the final outcome of the competition. If one presses an individual into a relationship pre or post maturely, the result could be devastating on an emotional level.

In the same way, a friendship with Jesus is all about timing. Galatians 5:25 records this concept in simple form.  Followers of Jesus are called to "walk in step" with the Spirit of God. Walking in step with someone is all about timing. You must match the pace of your partner; you need to ensure that you have a level of understanding in terms of direction, purpose and goals; and you must possess the endurance necessary to keep going.

In the pursuit of discipleship, timing is critical. The best coaches know when to push, and when to leave things alone. The best disciplemakers and those who possess this very same talent; they know when to challenge and when to back off. Disciplemakers inspire, convict, convince and demonstrate what it means to walk in step with the Spirit of God. Simply put, someone who makes disciples understands and appreciates the value of timing.

What does it mean for you to walk in step with God's Spirit? How can you make sure you are in time or in tune with what God desires to do in and through your life? These questions are all about timing. Perhaps it's time that you consider how you might answer them.