As I approached this number, I began to reflect on discipleship lessons learned over the years. I’ve posted about a lot of things, and my most popular post by far was one on the use of cell phones in the bathroom about 12 years ago, my main reason for beginning this blog was to learn more along the way about spiritual formation.
I am walking through John 13-17 in my daily reading, so it gives me a rich environment to think again on great discipleship lessons.
But for post number 5,000, the greatest lesson I can think of is from 1 Corinthians 13.
This chapter, freed from its sappy use at weddings back when I was younger, is at the core of discipleship. It is set deeply in the context of Paul dealing with arrogance of the Corinthian church culture. It is a chapter that speaks prophetically to our current quagmire of white American evangelicalism.
It is not soft. It is tough. It is difficult. Yet, it is not militant. We want militant in our culture. We don’t want to turn the other cheek any more. We want to punch the “enemy.”
What I need more deeply in my life than anything else is love. It is interesting that when Paul brings up the fruit of the Spirit or the gifts of the Spirit, he doesn’t mention “truth.” We can know what is true… and still be jerks. (And we prove that almost every day.) We can be useful in “powerful gifts” that draw crowds, but that becomes nothing more than a clanging cymbal.
I can be “right” in my view of the world or in my assessment of what is going on in a situation and still not communicate the power of the Kingdom of God.
I need love. I need to see others and lift them up. I need to see enemies and do more to bless rather than have the excuse of, “Well, at least I didn’t punch them in the face.”
Love brings Kingdom goodness and I need more of both in my life every day. I need to be free of anger and the need to be “right” and allow the goodness of the Kingdom to flow through me to the world around me.
This is the greatest discipleship lesson still being formed in me.