FORMATION

FORMATION

It is about becoming like Jesus

Disciples are those who, seriously intending to become like Jesus from the inside out, systematically and progressively rearrange their affairs to that end, under the guidance of the Word and the Spirit. – Dallas Willard

Discipleship is participating with God’s grace in our life long journey as learners who are becoming more like Jesus with the help of the indwelling presence of the Holy Spirit.

Dietrich Bonhoeffer–20th-century German pastor, martyr, and expert on Christian community–wrote in a letter to his brother in 1935:

“The restoration of the church will surely come only from a new type of monasticism which has nothing in common with the old but a complete lack of compromise in a life lived in accordance with the Sermon on the Mount in the discipleship of Christ. I think it is time to gather people together to do this…”— Dietrich Bonhoeffer

Perhaps one of the simplest ways to describe our desire for formation would be “Sermon-on-the-Mount Christianity.” However, we’ve abstracted and complicated (or worse, ignored) the Sermon on the Mount so much in the church that we hardly have a picture in our minds of what exactly “Sermon-on-the-Mount Christianity” looks like in the real world anymore. (To read Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount see Matthew 5-7, and the Sermon on the Plain in Luke 6:17-49.)

In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus gave a clear picture of the practices he wanted his disciples to live:

  • Kindness over judgment.
  • Forgiveness over vengeance
  • Purity and faithfulness in our sexuality.
  • Turning the other cheek.
  • Loving, praying for, and blessing our enemies.
  • Praying and fasting for God and not man.
  • Generosity
  • Seeking Gods kingdom and not material riches like the world does.
  • Seeking God radically through persistent prayer.
  • Building our life on doing these teachings, and obeying Jesus words.

We are called to love the outcast, challenge hypocrisy, lay down our lives for one another, celebrate the good and the true and the beautiful, give generously, seek God and find him in mysterious and miraculous ways, and when the challenges and trials of life come, have deep roots in the rock of Gods love and grace that enable us to walk with perseverance and joy. A community that practices its faith in that way, in the middle of the darkness of our society, really would be a light for the world, set high so that it could give light to the whole house.