Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Set Your Piggies Free - DIRTY FEET

I’m sure many of you are still not convinced hiking in flip flops is such a good idea, especially those that have ever traveled Camelback Mountain for themselves. Even beyond a concern for safety, you may still be troubled by the possibility for dirty feet. 

I’m certain many of you are equally unsure if you are willing to travel on a path of true discipleship. An intimate relationship with Jesus may seem as dubious as walking up a steep rocky cliff with nothing more than a piece of rubber and a fabric strap to hold it on your foot.

Jesus is the ONE we cannot see or touch but we can know HIM as certainly as we know any other person. If you’re like me you get annoyed when you hear someone on the radio say “All you need is a relationship with Jesus” but then never really tell you HOW to accomplish it. You might be directed to a website or to talk on the telephone with someone but they continue to fall short in answering the HOW question.

The devil, yes I said it, has influenced the world in such a way that an intimate relationship has become a passing thought. Something found only in our imagination. Things like text messaging, email, busyness, and automobiles have removed the need to be in face-to-face relationship.

It is true, that if we’ve never experienced authentic community with people that genuinely have our best interest in mind for ourselves then, we will have serious difficulty believing that God wants that kind of relationship with us.  

It is true, when you “hike in flip flops” your feet get dirty – really dirty. That simple reality causes many to put their hiking boots back on. That is, they keep Jesus at a distance and see “church” as a place to go instead of a PERSON to go to.

The real possibility of “getting their feet dirty” in relationship also causes many to not participate in authentic community (hike) at all. They miss out on the joy and peace knowing HIM offers – there is no “wheee!”

Do you find you avoid learning about Jesus because you don’t want blisters from hiking boots or dirty feet? But instead, you realize you live with coping behaviors such as depression, bitterness, anxiety, greed, loneliness, addiction, lust, body mutilation, or gluttony.

Dirty feet are gross right? If we don’t engage in relationship, we can hide, pretend, and lie that we’ve got it all together. Our feet stay clean and we can secretly sweep our ugliness in a neat tidy pile and hide it in the closet.

So, what is the HOW?

A relationship with people or Jesus goes far beyond sitting in a pew or comfortable fabric chair listening to instruction. Life-changing training takes place only in the context of relationship[1] - relationship with other believers (rubber soles) and relationship with Jesus (the strap). Jesus trained His disciples using these techniques and you should implement them in a small community of disciples too:

·   Learn by observing another modeling God’s truth in their life.
·   Learn through on-the-job training. That is, allow fellow disciples to show you how to apply God’s Word to your everyday life.
·   Learn out of immediate need. That is, allow fellow disciples to show you how to be Jesus to one another.
·   Learn within the context of interactive dialog. That is, try not to lecture or sermonize your time together.
·   Learn from God’s Word – Jesus, the Word made flesh. That is, let the Word of God drench you with good news until it penetrates to the core of your soul.
·   Learn from the inside out. That is, the core issue is always a matter of the heart.

Jesus accomplished the will of the Father by training and equipping His twelve to GO and make disciples within the context of relationship. They lived in close community with each other.

Do you have this kind of community? Do you have a heart willing (a.k.a. a humble heart) to be trained not just taught?

Discipleship is NOT easy – unless you are already selfless, humble, and submissive. To deny your self and pick up your cross every day (Mark -35) requires humility[2]. The Bible offers many promises for people who are willing to humble themselves:

·   God saves the humble (Psalm ).
·   God hears the humble (2 Chronicles ).
·   God gives understanding to the humble (Daniel ).
·   God fills the humble with joy (Isaiah 29:19).
·   God offers grace to the humble (Proverbs ).
·   God lifts up the humble (Luke ).
·   God sustains the humble (Psalm 147:6).
·   God speaks to the humble (Numbers 12:1-16).
·   God esteems the humble (Isaiah 66:2b).

A true disciple is someone who is willing to suffer possible blisters (1 Peter ) and “get their feet dirty” (Philippians 2:3-4). When the rich young ruler asked Jesus, “How do I inherit eternal life?” Jesus tells him to sell everything and follow Him – “ouch!” (Luke ).

What is Jesus asking you to sell: your pride, your self-sufficiency, your fears, your bitterness, your perception, your brokenness, or quite possibly your comfort?

It is my sincere prayer, as I close this series on discipleship, that you reconsider HOW you approach your journey of following Jesus. Jesus is the Word of God made flesh. To know HIM is to know His Word to the very core of your being. Discipleship causes us, you and me, to grow in ever increasing intimacy with the CHRIST.

Draw near to God and He will draw near to you (James 4:8).

Set your piggies free on the trail of discipleship.

Many will never put on hiking boots again. In fact, the researchers with George Barna have placed this number around 57 million Americans. They like Jesus but are offended by the church. I created the dedicated website http://www.setyourpiggiesfree.com/ for you to share your love of Christ with a neighbor, a barista, a mail carrier, a check out clerk, a barber, or maybe even a waiter. It is a gentle way to encourage the people in your community to not give up on Jesus just because some people have horribly misrepresented Him.  

Jesus said, "I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full."
- John 10:10b