In the first century, followers of Jesus were called disciples, from the Greek word methetes. A methetes was a learner, not only of their teacher’s thoughts, but also of their teacher’s way of living and interacting with the world. Christian people typically bifurcate their discipleship, focusing only on behavior or belief, forgetting the fact that it is both our orthodoxy (right-thinking) and orthopraxy (right-practice) that demonstrate our devotion to Jesus Christ.
Followers of Jesus learn.
In my experience, it seems most Christian people don’t grow very much after the first year. As spiritual newborns, they grasp the basic truths of who Jesus was and what he did and what he continues to do in them. They go to church. They get involved. And then that’s it. The majority of the time, once people are “saved” and involved in a local church, they stop learning (either how to live or how to think consistent with the way of Jesus) and instead, they start to defend what they think they know very aggressively.
It takes a tremendous amount of will and focus to avoid the obstinance of saved—churched—cultured Christianity. We must constantly invite the Holy Spirit to change us, whether we’ve been a Christian for one year or one hundred years. There will never come a point at which we have spiritually arrived and can assume, in good conscience, a posture of defense.
We have to reclaim our royal identity.
Dr. David McDonald is the teaching pastor at Westwinds Community Church in Jackson, MI. The church, widely considered among the most innovative in America, has been featured on CNN.com and in the Wall Street Journal, the New York Times, and Time Magazine. David weaves deep theological truths with sharp social analysis and peculiar observations on pop culture. He lives in Jackson with his wife, Carmel, and their two kids. Follow him on twitter (@fossores) or online at fossores.com