Last week we shared a vision of wholeness in Christ and hope you are encouraged to pursue God more deeply and buy our forthcoming book! In this essay, I want to offer some biblical foundations and practical wisdom so that we can jump-start progress in both our personal relationship with the Lord and in our local churches being more effective in equipping healthy believers. Here is an excerpt from the Introduction of our forthcoming book, Life in 5-D:
Our starting point was a simple question: “What does a healthy disciple look like?” Another way of saying this is, “What are the outcomes of a Christ-centered life under the kingdom of God?” One leader was blunt, “What does life look like when Christ is Lord of all?”
The Bible itself contains several summaries of what God expects of His followers. In the Old Testament, The Ten Commandments (Exod 20 and Deut 5) are imperatives for the people of God, outlining a life of gratitude rooted in God’s election, deliverance, and covenant-love (Exodus 4-20). Micah 6:8, in poetic fashion, summarizes a whole-life commitment of justice, mercy, and devotion.
Jesus shared the foundational attributes of Kingdom life in the Beatitudes (Matt 5) and His blessings (Luke 6) from the sermons on the mount and plain. Jesus told His followers that the commands to love God with one’s whole being and love one’s neighbor as oneself are the foundation and fruit of all of God’s ways (Matt 22:37-40).
Paul the Apostle, in the great love chapter of 1 Cor 13, unveils attitudes and actions that are the fruit of a life devoted to Christ. The fruit of the Spirit and the virtues of divine life are outlined in Gal 5:22-23. Peter offers another list of beautiful virtues in 2 Pet 1:1-10.
In the Book, we summarize the application of these beautiful passages in 5 Dimensions and 35 Outcomes. In visual form, here is a new picture of wholeness:
“Wow! That is so much to grasp!” yes – and we have an adventurous lifetime with the Lord to understand and grow in this wholeness.
If we are serious about a flourishing life, here is another passage from the book to encourage us forward:
Here are three insights that will help us be victors and not victims as we move forward:
One: Our life will include both joy and suffering, unexplainable difficulties, and unbelievable delights. We are always walking in both, “the power of his [Christ’s] resurrection and participation in his sufferings” (Phil 3:10). When we embrace this paradoxical power of Christ, we will find greater endurance and discover fresh wisdom as we reflect on how God is at work for our good in all circumstances (Rom 8:15-39). For those of us who love theology, this is an integration of a theology of the Cross and a theology of glory.
Two: Satan has no weapon against humility. This is why both James and Peter exhort believers to humble themselves and then see the enemy flee as they resist his temptations (Jas 4; 1 Pet 5). When we aim for God’s glory and the good of others, eschew power-seeking for service, and celebrate others more than ourselves, we are filled with peace, trusted with divine power, and fulfilling God’s will in all we do (Mark 10:45).
Three: Expect an inner battle in addition to circumstantial challenges. As we embrace the 5 Dimensions and 35 Outcomes of our life in Christ, all kinds of distractions, distortions, and even depressing thoughts will fill our minds: “Nothing ever changes.” “These ideas are fine for some people, but not for me.” “This is too complex.” “I am not important.” In addition to these thoughts, we must also guard against spiritual pride as we embark on this journey.
With hearts full of faith, Let’s decide that today’s discipline is tomorrow’s destiny and that with God’s help, we can see real progress!