Thursday, March 9, 2017

Using the 4Ls, Part 7 – Live

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.

Having covered the first L (Learn) last week (here), I will now review how the second, Live, fits within the grand scheme of my Vision, Mission, and Strategy. As I mentioned last week, the word disciple means “one who learns.” But learning is not just for the sake of instruction; rather, true learning should provide the means for something else. In the realm of discipleship, we can say it this way: Learning is not simply to be better informed, it is so we can be transformed. And a transformed life is one that uses what is learned to better live.

Many people consider Jesus a great teacher, whether or not they believe He was/is the Son of God. But a “great teacher” makes investments in their students not just so they can be better prepared for a test, but so they can apply principles to pass the test. In the case of Jesus, that test is related to our life, and potentially, even more specifically, various tests of our faith.

Consider the Great Commission (see post here). Jesus did not say that disciples should be made by teaching them only. He said teaching to observe. No doubt, the intent of Jesus is for a disciple to not only know what Jesus taught, but how to live according to what He taught. The reality is that no disciples perfectly knows or observes all that Jesus commands, but that is why the grace of God is necessary. It is why the only Man who ever did live a perfect life had to die – because the sacrifice of Jesus paid for the sin for all of us that could not make a way for ourselves. BUT! But that does not excuse His disciples from attempting to observe all that He commanded – not for salvation, but because of salvation.

If you recall, my vision is to “Be the man that God has called me to be.” That vision certainly requires learning, but Ephesians 5.1-2 (my vision verses) says I am to “imitate God” which requires living. That living encompasses loving, teaching, and encouraging others to be disciples and to make more disciples (a part of my Mission). And my Strategy provides clarity to how I must Live in a variety of areas. I must love, exercise discipline (spiritually, physically, financially), be active in my faith (i.e. live out my faith), read, and nurture others.

Each part of my Strategy encompasses some aspect of actively living, although some may consider reading passive. However, my purpose for reading is to grow – as a man, leader, disciple, etc. So effectively, my reading is so that I can be better in how I Live, even if the reading itself may not be considered living by some.

Last week, I concluded by stating that a true disciple is never finished learning. Well, that statement is equally true for living. We may find occasion to retire from a job or career, but a disciple is to be a disciple – heeding the call of Jesus to “Follow Me”  until the end. It will not always be easy, but it is necessary. And most, importantly, the call comes with a promise to all who respond in the affirmative. For Jesus said, “I will be with you even to the end of the age.”

If that is true, then let us Live what we Learn. And, do so with Love (next week) as we Lead others (two weeks) to do the same.

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