For Lent, I am walking us through a book called Apprenticeship With Jesus. You can follow along by reading my highlights and reflections. Extensive previews of the book, including excerpts, can be found through Google Books and Amazon, as well as eBook purchasing options.
Day 13: Life Is Too Long: When The Journey of Salvation Becomes Mechanical
– American Christians settle for an experience of God instead of learning to live our lives with God
– “We have made it where Christ may be received without any special love for Him in the soul of the receiver” – A.W. Tozer
– At the center of the universe is a relationship, at the center of existence is community
– We would rather play forgiven sinner than be an apprentice of Jesus
– The Christian life is an interactive and transforming friendship with God
I have been on a mission for several years now to express spiritual formation and discipleship as a common aspect of the Christian life. Just as common as attending church or reading your Bible. Still, people often see discipleship as a mere add on that isn’t a neccesity or even a requirement. How is this mentality expressing our love for God? We love him enough to sing praises to him on a Sunday morning but not live a life that reflects that love? That does not make any sense to me and that is why I am drawn to books such as this one.
Apprentice Activity: Lets Get Real
– Ask yourself if you are experiencing the “abundant life” of God
– Confess to God where you are missing the abundant life, where you fail to be in conversation with your Master, and how you have reduced life with God to something else.
– Quiet yourself to hear a reply from God
The key part of John 10:10 for me is not the part about Jesus giving life and life more abundantly but the part about what Satan plans to do. Satan wants to steal, kill, and destroy. That is what strikes me and reminds me that the things of this world are just tools of Satan to destroy my life but the things of God will give me a life beyond anything that I can understand and appreciate. To make the contrast of Satan’s ways and God’s ways leaves me desperately seeking God and his Kingdom.
What is Jesus teaching me? Dallas Willard talks about a pattern of change that works. He calls it the VIM pattern. Vision, Intention, and Means. We all can guess at the means but we struggle with the vision and the intention. I feel that through this study, God has been giving me a deeper vision of what my life can look like when it is transformed by Christ. This chapter details how mechanical our view of salvation often is and develops in me a dream of my life enriched and empowered by the transformative power of Jesus.
Are you just a forgiven sinner that is missing an interactive relationship with Christ? Do you consider God as your friend?