Discipleship Vs. Developing Maturity, “Attaining To The Whole Measure Of The Fullness Of Christ”
Let’s challenge the traditional mindsets we have towards “discipleship”, and ask the Holy Sprit to reveal some truths about the pastoral passion of the five fold as a new mindset to the way the Church is to think.
Rebirthing: If there are spiritual births, then we need spiritual nurseries! The pastoral spirit of the five fold is needed for this mindset to be addressed. Is the goal “discipleship”, making “followers” of Jesus, or it to help believers in Jesus Christ to “become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ”? (Eph. 4:13) There is a vast difference between just “following” someone and “maturing into their likeness”. When people see a Christian, he/she should see Jesus Christ. That is the goal of pastoral development. If this is truly the goal of the Church, then it needs a “rebirth”, a “renewal”, a “new mindset” toward the way it thinks of caring, nurturing, and developing the “Gods people, for works of service.” (Eph. 4: 12) This may cause the Church to shy away from current mindsets of discipleship programs, mentoring programs, big spiritual brother or sister programs, etc. and begin thinking of ways to personally one-on-one development one’s spiritual life by sacrificing one’s own time to “invest” in the kingdom of God by “investing” in helping another fellow believer mature more in the likeness of Jesus Christ. Development takes time, the one thing Americans do not want to sacrifice. In a fast pace internet world, Americans want instant “now”. Speed is the key to accessing information, but now in the kingdom of God. God has taken centuries to prepare for his Son, Jesus, to come as a sacrificial lamb for the sins of mankind, and is still taking centuries for His return to a Church without spot or wrinkle. God is allowing “developmental” time for His Church in preparation for His Son’s return. If God is taking His time to develop his Church into the image of His Son, maybe we, the Church, must recognize too that development takes time. For most of us Christian it will be an earthly lifetime. We live on promise that after death when we go with Him, Jesus, we will be like Him, in his fullness! The Lord’s prayer states, “Thy kingdom come, thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven,” so it is the will of the Father to “develop” His people into the likeness of His Son both here on earth and in heaven.
Of course here is where we begin to ask questions: How do we develop Christians into Jesus’ likeness? The answer is: WE CAN’T! Only the Holy Spirit can, for he has been called to draw all man unto Him, Jesus. He knows what the “likeness of Christ” is in its maturity being part of the Trinity. We need to ask the Holy Spirit, the Spirit of Jesus Christ, the evangelistic spirit of “rebirth”, “renewal”, and “revival” for ways to bring life, Rhema life, the Living Word, into the spirit of every Christian believer, so that the written Word, the Logos, becomes alive in us. The gospel of John begins explaining that Jesus is the Word from the beginning and that “the Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us.” Because of Jesus’ death and resurrection, the Christian faith believes that today God’s Spirit through Jesus is not only among us, but in us when we chose to accept Jesus into our lives. Our bodies become the “temple of the Holy Spirit”, the Spirit of Jesus Christ.
To develop into the maturity of being Christ like, we must put the written Word, the Logos Word, within ourselves by personally reading our Bibles. Then we have to allow the Holy Spirit to activate that Word to become the Rhema Word, the Living Word, so we become little “Words”, little “Jesus’”, little “Words in the flesh” because the Spirit of Jesus, His Holy Spirit is in us, now his temples.
Becoming “Words” in the flesh, living “Words” in the Spirit gives a new dimension to how we need to develop Christians in becoming “mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ.” This is why my prayer is for me and you to look at the pastoral passion of the five fold in different ways than we have in the past as the Holy Spirit instructs us in the process of growth, caring, nurturing, and developing into the “fullness of Christ”.