As the rain and the snow come down from heaven, and do not return to it without watering the earth and making it bud and flourish, so that it yields seed for the sower and bread for the eater, so is my word that goes out from my mouth: It will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it. -- Isaiah 55:10-11

Saturday, December 1, 2007

Discipline--An Award and a Reward


A few weeks ago I received an award from Jan. The award is the Mathetes Award. I had no knowledge of background for this, so I looked it up. It is neat to read about, and I suggest you visit the site. In summary:

"Mathetes is the Greek word for disciple, and the role of the disciple (per the Great Commission) it to make more disciples. I'd like to take the opportunity to award five other bloggers with this award and badge for acting in the role of a disciple of Christ. These five all share the message in their own creative ways, and I admire them all for what they do. "

This is what Jan said about me: "Jerri – You are bold and free, willing for God to use you in any way he sees fit – whether it’s rescuing animals or writing about deeper issues. "

In the last month, I have struggled with the implication of this blessing even before I knew she had written these words. Despite the struggle, I do receive her words as a blessing. What greater blessing can we have than to be willing to be used by God in any way He sees fit? And at the same time, what greater struggle is there than to give up self and crucify it on a our cross daily?

And yet, I have even begun to question the struggle. I do not believe my struggle is in knowing or believing in God's worthiness to be served unconditionally. Although sometimes, we have words about the His timing and what I perceive is silence on His part. My greatest struggle is not in knowing and believing in His identity. It is in knowing and believing in mine.

It is easy to get caught up in the lie that we are not whatever we should be, and therefore, we are not what God declares we are. The problem is we--I see myself in a mirror of that shows flesh, and the enemy of my soul is all too willing to magnify the flaws therein. However, my God sees me in likeness of His Son whose blood covers all that stuff the enemy wants to blow up to be everything. In the likeness of Jesus and through faith in Him, all that "everything" becomes nothing. When I am nothing, He can show all He is.

Isn't God's logic amazingly weird?

So the last month has found me struggling in my identity as disciple, not just in the ways I let traffic get to me or the not so loving thoughts I have toward my husband at times. My struggle has been to see myself as God sees me so that I can be all He has called me to be. He has called me to be a godly wife and a godly mother. He has called me to impact my world through love first and words when my first calling has been done first. My first calling in my home has not been what I dreamed it would be, and finally, the Lord got me to acknowledge it was my fault. Jesus kept His priorities, and mine had been confused. I have spent the last month sorting through priorities, repenting for what I've done wrong (lots of repenting), and accepting that the God who gave me this job will give me the ability to do this job. I am without excuse. If my realms of authority are out of order, it's because I'm out of order. God is not a God of disorder but of peace. If there isn't peace, then God isn't getting to be in charge.

For the last month I've been learning to be a disciple in a different way. Not by performing well or fulfilling roles but through relationship. It seems like a simple truth and yet, how deeply ingrained is the idea that I must perform and fulfill a role and be a specific "thing" to different people.

I plan to write more about this and share what I've been learning and learn daily. Right now though, I shall leave you with one simple thought: To be a disciple is not to memorize rules. To be a disciple is to cultivate a relationship. Being a disciple does not happen by accident. It is a choice. It is who we choose to be. It is the person we are when we quit listening to the enemy tell us all the things we are not. It is not who we will become. It is who we are. It is our choosing to believe that that frees us to the joy of being a disciple.

4 comments:

Linda said...

Jerri, your heart is so sensitive to the things of Lord and in pleasing him. More of us should have that desire to be a little more introspective and analytical about the states of our hearts. I just want to reaffirm what you already know; it's not in the doing or not doing that we are defined or valued (even mental obedience vs. outward)--In him we live and move and have our being. As you work through all of your struggles, I'm praying that the joy of the Lord will be your strength and that he will fill you with that inexplicable joy today. Be encouraged, dear friend.

Debra said...

Wow! Wow! Wow! God is so BIG! and, if we would allow, so simple in what He requests (only satan makes it complicated ... I HATE HIM!) Your heart is precious and I am standing with you as a disciple. Love you, Debra

Jerri Phillips said...

Linda,
Thank you so much. I appreciate the prayer for joy. Joy has not been a defining element in my life, but I believe the Lord is changing that. In fact, I've been studying joy, and the fact is, joy comes from the Father's presence, from being immersed in Truth. If we are living the Truth He speaks over us, not only should we find joy in ourselves but He does as well. Isn't that exciting?

Thank you for the encouragement, dear friend. You are such a blessing.

Debra,
I'm so thankful...months and months worth of thankful. Love you, too.

Jerri Phillips said...

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