“Then He (Jesus) added, ‘Every teacher of religious law who becomes a disciple in the Kingdom of Heaven is like a homeowner who brings from his storeroom new gems of truth as well as old.’” (Matthew 13:52 NLT)
There is, in the teaching of the Christian Faith, a delicate balance between what we know to be true and what motivates our actions as human beings. The goal of Discipleship, as I understand it, is the development of a Christian worldview where everything we know is applied and tested on the battlefields of life. If my knowledge doesn’t make Jesus more “visible” in and through my life, it has little if any real value.
As it relates to our walk with Jesus, knowledge must feed our ability to live more in line with, not only what Jesus taught, but with who He is. Our faith must inform and effect every area and dimension of our being. Jesus followers should be better – better parents, better servants, better workers, better employers, better employees, better citizens, better friends – better people.
The scribes to whom Jesus referred in the above verse, were experts in interpretation and instruction of the intricacies of the Jewish religious law. When they became devoted to Jesus, they had a platform of understanding from which they could draw that would illuminate their understanding and enable them to make application in ways that few could.
For example, they could see more clearly than most, the connection between prophecies that pertained to Jesus and His fulfillment of them. Their faith could be deepened, giving them greater insight into how to instruct others in their faith.
Today we have massive amounts of information that is available at the click of a button, that can lure us into a false sense of security in terms of our faith in Jesus. We can wrongly believe that more knowledge means a closer walk with the Lord. And don’t misunderstand – it can and should, but it’s not automatic.
At my installation reception after becoming the new pastor of the last church I served; a guy came up to me and for several minutes unloaded all this information about insights that he’d gained in his study. I’m not going to lie, I didn’t have a clue as to what he was talking about. I’d never heard any of it before, but the tragedy to me was, it had no practical application to anything remotely related to being a better servant of Christ.
It seemed obvious that he wanted to dump on anyone who would listen, but why? To what end? If we’re going to ask someone to listen to us, let’s at least have the courtesy to share something meaningful and helpful. Virtually everything I read or to which I listen needs to equip me to be a better servant of Christ. If it doesn’t help me understand how to reach more hurting or lost people, or be a better husband, father, or friend, I don’t have time to listen.
So, am I just dumping on you today? I hope not. So, what’s my takeaway? Read, study, dig deep into God’s Word, but don’t get stuck there. Let the Holy Spirit inform your heart how to take what He’s teaching you and apply it to areas of your life where you need to grow. Let what you know make you a more effective Jesus follower. Let it give greater and greater visibility to His life being lived out through you.
If that in which we invest our time doesn’t enable us to be more like Jesus, enabling us to speak into another’s life more meaningfully and effectively, for all intent and purpose, it’s a waste of time. Discipleship is essentially saying with Paul: “Follow me as I follow Christ.” (1 Corinthians 11:1) That must be the goal of our study – that as we’re walking more closely to Jesus we’re becoming someone worthy of being followed. Not that others would be conformed to our likeness, but to His.
Blessings, Ed 😊