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I’ve observed four distinct phases to this movement of God. FIRST: There is a great dissatisfaction and discontent with what presents itself as the spiritual sources of life. Instead of being resources, they have become organizations filled with restrictions that we are invited to join. SECOND: There is an initial attraction to this calling of God as a possible solution to the dissatisfaction and discontent. Initially, this may or may not be a direct attraction to Jesus and the Kingdom. THIRD: There is an experience of the principles and teachings of Jesus that prove to be most meaningful and effective, either through hearing or observing the Kingdom in action. FOURTH: A realization emerges that the solution is not a set of teachings to be learned, but a person to know-a friend like no other. It is at this point that the Spirit of Jesus does a transforming work in a person’s heart.
This is the only “conversion” that is possible; not by man or thought, but by God Himself. When Peter answered Jesus’ question, “Who do you say that I am?”, he said, “You are God’s Messiah, the son of the living God!” Jesus quickly points out: “Good answer, Peter. Flesh and blood did not reveal this to you. My Father revealed this to you.” This fourth phase of transformation is caught, not just taught. It was caught, because they had been following Jesus for over three years.
Do you see the problem? It took 3 ½ years for Jesus, that’s Jesus, the name above all names, to make 11 disciples out of the 12 he was given by the Father. They were disciples, when they began following him, however at the end of his time with them, Jesus says he finished the work he came to do and they get it.That statement of Jesus has always bothered me…that they finally got it! Maybe they got it, but I think they got it in ‘slow motion’. It took them over 30 years to leave Jerusalem to begin the discipleship process as Jesus commanded them.
SO, maybe you who have found it difficult to practice discipleship, can find comfort in the slow motion actions of the early disciples.