Thursday, March 2, 2017

Using the 4Ls, Part 6 – Learn

This series of posts is not designed for you to follow my example directly. Some may, and that is fine, but the main goal is to help the reader to identify a process and to use mine as an example. Of course, the 4L’s are designed to hold true for anyone, but how they fit the collective understanding of the 4L Model of Discipleship will need to be adapted into your own life’s goals and purposes.

The 4L Discipleship Model is based upon four interdependent aspects of the life of a disciple. In previous posts, I have outlined the 4Ls based upon Scripture (here and here). Now, in this series, I am showing how the 4Ls help to guide me in following my Strategy to achieve my Mission so that I can fulfill my Vision. Each of the L’s have an independent purpose but also must be woven together in order to fully realize the impact. In last week’s post, I covered them collectively. This week, I will begin with the first of the L’s – Learn – and focus on each individually, first expounding a little further on the idea of Learn in general, and share how it applies to my life’s purpose.

The first L is Learn. This is sensible because the very word disciple means “one who learns.” Of course, what we learn, and even where we choose to learn are important elements in what type of disciple we become. In a general sense, a disciple can learn any number of topics, lifestyles, etc. However, this word is typically used in a Christian context, and from that standpoint, our learning should be based upon the Bible and the teachings of Jesus.

According to Matthew’s account of the gospel, the last words of Jesus included the need for His followers to make disciples of all nations. The word nations is from the Greek word ethnos, which means it implies more of the various ethnicities rather than geographical boundaries. But the goal is to make disciples – or learners – of each of these groupings of people.

Making disciples certainly encompasses the transfer of information (how we typically view learning), but the reality is that disciple-making is far more than information. Jesus words to The Twelve and others was to “Follow Me.” This implied learning about life from Him – watching Him as He traversed throughout Galilee, Judea, and eventually Jerusalem. His first disciples were to watch Him, learn, and then emulate Him. While all accounts slow them to be slow learners, eventually (post-resurrection) they “got it” and the implications are still being realized today.

The same words Jesus said to His followers directly, are still applicable today, even if we may audibly hear them. “Follow Me,” is a phrase that still rings true today. It is a call to be informed (Learn) so that we may be transformed and be conformed to His image (Romans 8.29). The proof that learning is more than information can be found in the two primary verses I have shared elsewhere related to the 4L’s. In Matthew 4.19, Jesus calls others to follow so that He can make them something else (fishers of men). In Matthew 28.20, Jesus doesn’t just call people to learn information, but states that the teaching is not complete until it is “observed.” That is, until we observe His commands, we have not truly learned them, and thus, we are not true disciples. Thus the LEARN helps us to LIVE which will be the focus of next week’s post.

So, how does LEARN relate to my Strategy, Mission, and Vision? Well, first, as you can see here, my Strategy is based upon the acrostic L-E-A-R-N. As I better learn to understand and live by those principles, I am becoming a better disciple. As I become a better disciple, I am then better equipped to make disciples which is a part of my overall Mission. Furthermore, as I LEARN more about God, I not only better know what He wants from me, but I know Him better! As such, I find myself more apt to imitate Him which is my ultimate goal (Vision). Of course, I can do none of this on my own; I am only able to become more like God because of Him working in and through me, which is why I need to heed His call to “Follow Me” in the first place.

A true disciple is never finished learning – at least on this side of eternity. To Learn is the very essence of being a disciple, and the learning we do allows us to then Live and Love and Lead, which will be the focus of the next three posts.

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