After a person encounters Jesus Christ through the indwelling presence of the Holy Spirit, all that Satan needs to get someone back to living the lives they lived before they encountered Him is three weeks.
This is what I help audiences around the country understand while I am preaching an Evangelistic Parish Mission. In my early years of being on the road, I was preaching missions, watching the Spirit light hearts on fire, only to have them extinguished.
There is a critical false belief floating around even among the core participants in our parishes. It is the assumption that our journey into mature discipleship happens more out of chance than intentionally. There is little effort among the core to develop their maturity in faith to build the Kingdom of God.
Gaining Traction on Growth
As disciples, we sign up to build the Kingdom of Jesus Christ on earth. To do this, He has given us the Holy Spirit to help us learn how to move from a worldview of life apart from God to one that is totally directed by God. The Spirit will form us if we are willing to dispose ourselves to this formation.
As I work with parishes, I am finding individuals who realize that they have some boning up to do if they are going to become an instrument for building the Kingdom of God. They know that there is at least one of the four fundamental disciplines that they must engage in. But the question is, how? Life is so busy and we can’t create time.
Understanding our role as a disciple will help us generate the motivation to do the work that will be required to get grounded in all of the fundamental disciplines. This is not a quick fix, and you can bet that Satan will fight you every step of the way. So here are a couple of thoughts to pray through.
- Engaging in the fundamental disciplines of a disciple is to enter the School of the Holy Spirit, where He becomes our instructor and directs our growth. Have you asked the Spirit, directly, to lead you to the first thing HE wants you to do?
- In Baptism, we choose to die with Christ, meaning that we are no longer living for our goals but His. Are you looking at your life’s purpose to build Jesus’ Kingdom, or are you still focused on developing your life?
- Set an actionable and measurable plan. (i.e., “I believe the Spirit wants me to become familiar with the Gospels, so I am going to study the Gospel of Mark until the Spirit leads me to the next book.”)
- Ask other people to pray for you and hold you accountable to your goal.
- Finally, ask for the grace to die this death.
“If anyone wishes to come after Me,
he must deny himself, and take up his cross daily and follow Me.”
Luke 9:23 (NAB)