We are disciples
It has been more than two weeks since Together for Adoption. I am still reading through my notes, reflecting on everything I learned. So often when I attend a conference I am inspired. I walk away motivated and excited. But seldom do I walk away all that different.
But at least for me, Together for Adoption was revolutionary.
It’s not what I learned about adoption that has left me hungry for a radical change.
No, it is what I learned about God: who God is and who I am as a result. God is Creator, Redeemer, King. Therefore I am a precious child welcomed into the family of God. I am a missionary sent by God. And I am a disciple who lives under the glorious and good reign of God.
The third session with Tim Chester is the one that perhaps most deeply challenged my assumptions. As in the first two sessions (here and here), Chester walked us through the Bible one more time, this time looking at the Bible as the story of God’s kingdom.
From beginning to end, the Bible is the story of God re-establishing his rule through his word and through his King.
Creation. For all eternity, God is Lord. He is the Sovereign King over creation and he rules through his word. We were created in God’s image to enjoy God’s rule. We were likewise created to govern God’s creation as his image bearers, according to his word.
Fall. When the serpent came to Adam and Eve, he asked a question that has become the question. Is it good to live under the rule of God? The serpent portrayed God as oppressive and tyrannical. Adam and Eve believed this lie. They disobeyed God because they rejected God’s word. They questioned the goodness of God. Like Adam and Eve, we believe the lie that God’s kingdom is oppressive and tyrannical. We do not believe it is good to live under the authority of God.
Covenant and Exile. When God gives the people of Israel the law, is is to be like a bill of rights. God’s law as a way of ordering life is good, a source of blessing, freedom and life. The people of Israel forget God’s law and everyone does as they see fit. Through the prophets, God promises a coming King who will restore God’s Kingdom.
Jesus. Jesus is the servant King who proclaims the coming of God’s kingdom. Jesus is the King who came in humility; it is also the King who will come again in glory. Throughout his ministry, Jesus says that God’s kingdom is good news.
The Kingdom of God is good news unless you are a rebel. But here’s the issue: we are all rebels. We all believe the lie that God’s rule is oppressive and tyrannical.
Through Jesus, we are recreated in the image of God to enjoy God’s rule through God’s word. Our renewed identity is that we are disciples.
This has been a radical idea for me.
I thought about discipleship as learning from a teacher – not submitting to a king.
I have had many teachers in my life. A few were terrible. Most were helpful and good. So thinking about discipleship as learning from God has been a mostly comfortable process. But knowledge is different from submission.
For me to be a disciple of Jesus, I am not just to sit at his feet as his student, I am to lay down my life as his subject. Discipleship is not about knowledge. It is a process of believing that God is good, even when life is hard – about believing that God’s rule is a source of blessing, freedom and life even when everything in our culture screams that it is oppressive.
This post is part of a series of reflections from the Together for Adoption 2011 Conference. Follow these links to read more: When Everything Changes, We are Family, We are Missionaries, and We are Disciples.