I think we have made an assumption that isn’t valid. In the post-modern church we have imagined that we could produce disciples of the Lord Jesus Christ. We have tried programs and processes. We have developed curriculum and study guides, classes and seminars. All created with high hopes and then dashed with harsh reality. Why?
Could it be that we have assumed the role of the Holy Spirit? Why do I suggest this? Because the Spirit is the source of LIFE. He alone can produce genuine living disciples of the Lord Jesus. His work is called in Christian theology…Regeneration. If a person has become a genuine child of God by faith in Christ there is spontaneous change and growth that cannot be faked or simulated. Here’s a list of Spirit instigated Lifesigns:
- A powerful hunger for the Word of God and a willingness to obey it.
- A desire for constant communication with God in prayer.
- A holy hatred for sin (especially the sins of the tongue and the ego)
- A love for other Christians and a powerful desire to worship, fellowship and serve with them.
- An attitude of gratitude and praise.
- A spontaneous witness…they have to tell their story
- A spirit of generosity
- A love for God and His Kingdom that prioritizes everything else second and becomes the center of their value system.
- Abiding peace
- An unquenchable joy
- Courage and endurance in suffering and persecution
- A willingness to forgive
This is not an exhaustive list. This is my personal list and I am still adding to it. These life signs are more to be caught than taught. They are derived from the presence and power of the Holy Spirit. They can be coached and mentored in the way a gifted athlete can benefit from training and coaching, but they cannot be generated by mere knowledge. You either have the life of God transforming you or you don’t. Disciples don’t teach life…they follow and enhance life.