This past week has been interesting from a faith point of view. Helen and I took in 2 Christian movies: the “Shack” and “The Case for Christ”, based upon Lee Strobels book of the same name. Both movies were excellent and helped us to refocus on faith generally and discipleship in particular. We also will experience this week the last module [Module 12] of the “Hearts Transformed” series which is an evangelization initiative of the Diocese of Prince George. This week’s Module deals with the “Heart of the Saints”.
As Christians, immersed as we are in our secular environment, we need to constantly re-orient ourselves to the reason for our pilgrimage. It’s noteworthy that before the followers of Jesus were identified as “Christians” they were simply referred to as the followers of the “Way”. That is the term used in scripture to describe those persons targeted by Saul of Tarsus [later St Paul] as he rounded them up to bring them before the Jewish authorities. The “Way” is also a term used by Jesus in scripture to describe himself. The use of the term is instructive to us as we continue to navigate our spiritual lives as it reminds us that Jesus, among other things, is the Way to the Father.
That each of us, if we are to embrace our identity as Christians, is called to discipleship is beyond refute. Jesus is quite clear about that in scripture. “ If you make my Word your home you will indeed be my disciples; You will come to know the truth and the truth will set you free” [John 8: 31-32]. The real issue is how we go about cooperating with God’s grace to become Disciples and how we go about becoming Missionary Disciples which is also something we are all called to [Mark 16: 16-17].
The key seems to be the need to surrender our lives to Jesus. We have to emulate Him in the way we live and that means, among other things, picking up our cross and carrying it as we are prompted by the Spirit to do so. As you will appreciate, this often involves a struggle between what “I want” and what Jesus wants [the “I will” vs the “I should”].
This struggle, I am sure, is a struggle that the Saints also had to contend with. The benefits of Discipleship however are significant. We encourage and experience a greater intimacy with Jesus, we are released from the slavery of our desires and wants and experience the peace and contentment that only God can give. If we allow the Holy Spirit to truly transform us then we witness effectively to those who have yet to meet Christ.
As the 2 movies referred to above indicated, it is all a question of Love. Do we love God and each other sufficiently to allow the transformation or do we hold back in fear. The choice is ours and we are being invited to make it every day of our lives.