Over the last few posts in this series, I have explored this definition for mature discipleship: Mature disciples of Christ actively cultivate the attitudes, understandings, and habits of abiding in God’s Word in a variety of ways throughout life.
Where do our attitudes come from?
It seems like a basic question, but I think it’s more complex than we might think. Let me explain.
Attitudes are, roughly defined, our states of thoughts and emotions. Humans like to believe that we oversee our own destinies, including who we are and who we will be. God’s Word reveals to us that, before God, this is certainly not true.
Think back to how you began your day yesterday. Take time, think it through. What did you do? What was the order?
I’m guessing you either woke up to an alarm or just woke up at the same time you usually do. Either way, it was probably a similar morning to most. You got out of bed and went into the bathroom for your morning routine. You might have taken a shower, gotten a cup of coffee, checked your social media, and so on. Then you got ready for the day and went your way.
When you hear the word learning, what comes to mind? I’m guessing that one of the first things you think of is school. You might recall memories of classrooms, teachers, desks, and long days of sitting and listening or reading. You may think of hours of homework, peer pressure, growing up, and grades. I’m also guessing that not all your memories of “learning” are positive ones.
A defining characteristic of mature disciples of Christ is that they abide in God’s Word in a variety of ways throughout life.
This simple statement was the key focus of my last blog post on the importance of abiding in God’s Word. Abiding in God’s Word means not only receiving it through hearing and reading, but also thinking about it, wrestling with it, returning to it, struggling with it, and letting the Spirit put it into action in our different responsibilities, or vocations.
Life can get complicated.
We know the drill. There are deadlines to keep, bills to pay, places to go, chores to do. Then something breaks down. Where does the money come from? How will you get to where you need to go? How will you fit everything you want into your schedule? Will you ever find some time to relax in the midst of everything?
What about discipleship, or your daily life as a baptized believer in Christ? Does that feel complicated too?
Who am I? What does God want with me? During my youth, and perhaps even still now, those were questions I constantly considered. After all, I’m just a simple human without a grand life or thrilling adventure to speak about. Yet God has called us to be His own through baptism, made us His children, and has called us into His salvation story. How can you encourage your youth to see that, even in the monotonous, their lives are part of God’s epic story of salvation?
It’s a common question. In fact, I’d say it’s probably the most common and difficult question each one of us human beings face each day. We all go about our business, living each day just like the last. Then BAM. There’s a tragedy or a disaster. Someone loses a job, there's a death in the family, a lie or betrayal is exposed, or a tornado strikes. In a moment, our everyday comfortable life is upended. We’re left asking the question, “Why?”
There's an old joke that the correct answer to any question asked by a Sunday School teacher is Jesus. Who loves you? Jesus! Why does this story matter? Jesus! Who drove you to church this morning?