FOLLOWING JESUS IN ALL OF LIFE
The word disciple — the word used in the Bible for those who follow Jesus — means learner, or apprentice. Here is a simple definition. Discipleship to Jesus is:
Being with Jesus, becoming like Jesus, doing what Jesus did
BEING WITH JESUS
When Jesus appointed the twelve disciples in Mark 3:13-19, we’re told he did so for two reasons: that they might be with him, and that they might do what he did. The order is important! He did not first call them to to spiritual activity, but to be with him. As apprentices of Jesus, we too are called first to life in his presence.
BECOMING LIKE JESUS
Jesus appointed the disciples to be with him so that they might be changed by him. In other words, being with Jesus and becoming like Jesus are two sides of the same coin. As we spend time with Jesus, we cannot help but be changed by him. We cannot help but love what he loves, hate what he hates, and be transformed into his Image.
DOING WHAT JESUS DID
The overflow of being with Jesus is doing what he did (Mark 3:14-15). Throughout the Gospel accounts, we see Jesus proclaim the message of the Kingdom, exercise authority over the spiritual forced of darkness, and establish pockets of new creation where the effects of sin are reversed. The same authority Jesus lived with has been given to us so that we might also go out and do what Jesus did (Matthew 28:16-20).
CULTIVATING LIFE WITH GOD
Following Jesus is fundamentally simple. It’s not easy, but the pursuit of relationship with Jesus should not be so complex that it requires a master’s degree! Here at Elmwood, we rally around these five spiritual rhythms: Bible, prayer, sabbath, community, and mission. Of course, there are many other spiritual practices that can help us grow in Christ, but we see these five as foundational to cultivating a healthy life with God.
To learn more and to find helpful resources, check out the following pages:
BOOKS ON SPIRITUAL RHYTHMS
The Spirit of the Disciplines: Understanding How God Changes Lives — “[Willard] presents a way of living that enables ordinary men and women to enjoy the fruit of the Christian life. He reveals how the key to self-transformation resides in the practice of the spiritual disciplines, and how their practice affirms human life to the fullest. The Spirit of the Disciplines is for everyone who strives to be a disciple of Jesus in thought and action as well as intention.”
The Divine Conspiracy: Rediscovering Our Hidden Life in God — “[In this book, Willard] skillfully weaves together biblical teaching, popular culture, science, scholarship, and spiritual practice, revealing what it means to “apprentice” ourselves to Jesus. Using Jesus’s Sermon of the Mount as his foundation, Willard masterfully explores life-changing ways to experience and be guided by God on a daily basis, resulting in a more authentic and dynamic faith.”
Spiritual Disciplines: How to Become a Healthy Christian — “In these pages, learn how you can become a vibrant, healthy Christian by regularly offering to God three main dimensions of your life—your attention, your emotions, and your limits—for when you are disciplined in cultivating these environments at the root, you will grow into the right kind of tree.”
Spiritual Disciplines Handbook: Practices That Transform Us — “In Spiritual Disciplines Handbook Adele Calhoun gives us directions for our continuing journey toward intimacy with Christ. While the word discipline may make us want to run and hide, the author shows how desires and discipline work together to lead us to the transformation we’re longing for―the transformation only Christ can bring. Instead of just giving information about spiritual disciplines, this handbook is full of practical, accessible guidance that helps you actually practice them.”