Disciple means disciplined learner and is a definition and dynamic Jesus gives to all who return to the Father through him. It’s also a title that will not be revoked, unless we choose, until we exit life and enter eternal life.
Therefore, we are lifelong learners whose only constant is change!
The biblical word for change is transformation, meaning transform or transfigure and appears only four times. Twice concerning Christ appearance on the mount of transfiguration. See Matt 17:2. And the transformation of the believer into the likeness of Christ, through the renewing of their minds. See 2 cor 3:18 & Roms 12:2.
One of the core changes that needs to happened to all disciples of Christ can be seen in the changing of the name, by Jesus, of Peter. Before Jesus re-named him, he was Simon, meaning reed-like. Peter means rock. His previous name infers he swayed and his latter name infers being solid. The name change was a outworking of an invisible truth – Peter’s substance had transformed. He appeared the same but in his words and actions, he was different. These words and actions would take time to fully develop, he would go on to deny his master, but when Jesus said He was now ‘Rocky.’ He was!
The context of this re-naming is very important –Peter had just received revelation directly from the Father regarding who Jesus was. Immediately, Simon is given a new name and his substance is changed. This dynamic is clearly highlighted in John 1:12 –
to “all who received Him (Jesus, the Word) to those who believe in name (work) he gave them power to become children of God!”
Formulaically – receive + believe = become.
The core of Simon was changed by receiving and believing the released Word of God, and so, he went from being easily swayed to becoming rocky. The biblical word which is also an ongoing process, for this, is stable!
Dynamically, stable means established and strengthen, something or someone, who has become and is becoming. They are fixed and becoming firm, established and strengthen! These works are within a person’s life and primarily refer to the state and condition of their faith and their mind! Col 2:5&23; 2 Pet 3:17
In these verses, the word stability and steadfast are being used and the pictures behind them are – to make stable, place firmly, set fast, fix, a firm foundation. These refer to the state and quality of the heart and mind of the believer, and they are also a litany of what the Spirit desires to continue to do in and through us!
Central to our hearts and minds being and becoming more stable is pressure or testing. When the pressure is on, we are close to an opportunity to become more stable, as James, puts it –
“that you may be complete and mature, not lacking anything.” James 1:4.
‘That you may,’ is the language of someone responding, doing their part and so the principle imparts what it contains. The principle here in James is perseverance which is the expected out working or fruit of a life under a time of testing v3. Verse three begins with an assumption – ‘because you know that’ the testing of your faith develops perseverance.
Isn’t that just an annoying word, develops?
I say this sarcastically because I have met many believers who have experience and gone through pressure, testing times, and yet they have not become stable. Quite the opposite actually!
This is due, in part, to a wrong paradigm which is called event-mindedness, that simply believes the event will change them. It will but not for the better, unless they respond to what every event offers: an R.S.V.P. And that, is always to understand and work the process being offered – mature and complete not lacking anything.
If our substance is going to transform we need to have, like Peter, a revelation from the Father. As we respond to that revelation by doing our part, consistently, we will see constancy develop and grow in our hearts and minds, and as a result flow downstream into our lives and contexts!
The process of becoming stable I call gym time or road work and in part two of this blog, I share some thoughts about this necessary discipline. Until then some wise words –
“Champions aren’t made in the ring, they are merely recognised there. What you cheat on in the early light of morning [road work/gym time] will show up in the ring under the bright lights!” Joe Frasier [parentheses mine]
In my last blog (18/8/16) I shared some thoughts about unconscious incompetence.
The dynamic of not knowing that we don’t know what we need to know as men.
Our Father loves to bring His life and fill those spaces that are empty.
Today’s blog is a reflection about one man, who one day was led into a sacred space and divine appointment by Jesus.
His teacher was trying to make him aware of the competency that was already in him, which would fill the space and meet the need which was coming over the horizon.
That man was Philip. That day is found in John 6:5-13
As a disciple, a man within His team, Philip had the mandate and the designated power to ‘fill the earth.’ Cf See Gen 1:28 & Eph 1:23
Jesus was intentionally training His men to do what He’d been doing and do greater things. Jn 14:12
This particularly day Jesus saw the need before Philip and He turns and asks Philip, there were other team players there, a direct question.
Teachers and questions are historically almost negative for me.
What is it about being put on the spot by being asked a question?
This is one of the uncomfortable sides of Jesus but a side I now expect and am learning to love.
Here’s my paraphrase of that event (Jn 6:5) – Jesus saw on the horizon a pressing need; hungry people. “I can and will feed them, yet I need to train the lads because when I go back they’ll have to do what I’ve been doing. Who’s ready for this test, this pressure? Phil!
Turn up the heat, apply great pressure are the dynamics of the word test.
Jesus intentionally puts His friend and team mate in the zone, and He makes no apology for it!
The words of the late Myles Munroe are very insightful –
“Potential is determined and revealed by the demands placed on it by its creator.” Myles Munroe
Jesus puts Philip in an exacting place and a sacred space, for the sole purpose of bringing out what’s dormant: the power to fill the space and meet the need!
Some time back, during an intense time, I asked the Father want was going on and He said this-
Exacting places; are extracting places!
- Exacting – trying or unremittingly severe in making demands.
- Extracting – to draw out, withdraw.
I came to realise that the problem I was facing and the pressure I was under, were designed and factored in by Father. Through me, He would fill the space, meet the need and relieve the problem!
The problem was, I didn’t know what He’d put in me and how it related to what I was facing.
I was unconsciously competent!
This problem in me needed to be addressed before the external problem could be properly faced and solved.
Are we under pressure?
Is a problem coming over or covering the landscape of our life?
Perhaps these are designed and factored in by your Father?
Is He trying to get us to realise what we’ve been given, so we can release it?
Pressure is essential for muscle growth.
Is He asking us to wake up and grow a latent ability, gift or skill?
Willing us to pick up the bar, start to rep and produce?
Unless we realise, become consciously competent, we cannot release and we and others will miss out.
Invitations trigger emotions and require a decision. The Father loves to give invites but they usually come at what we might think are strange times. This pod will shed some light on this Inviting Father!