First published January 25, 2011
Am I living a life I’d want someone to copy?
Those two sentences found their way into my journal over the weekend, as I was thinking about a presentation I’ve got coming up. I’m going to talk about being and making disciples. (That subject has shown up as my one word and in my list of 8 ways to get better at following.)
As I thought about the idea of making disciples, of developing followers, I realized that part of making a disciple is being willing to be a model.
I hate that. So do you. The last thing we want is for someone to use our life as a pattern. We know all of the ways that we fail. We know all the strategies that don’t work. We know how we don’t measure up. We know how we hurt someone we love. We are, we think, models for spiritual failure.
But I think I’m wrong.
Paul consistently said, “Here are my failures. Here’s what I don’t do well. Here’s what God does wonderfully, sometimes in spite of me, sometimes through me.” He said this especially to Timothy, his most mentioned disciple.
(A working definition of a disciple is a person who chooses to allow the life and teaching of someone to shape his/her own life.)
Helping people learn how to follow Jesus doesn’t mean being perfect.
It means being translucent, keeping the details hidden but allowing the outline of your humanity to show. It means acknowledging the failures and the forgiveness. It means showing when you let your mouth get ahead of your brain, here is how you ask forgiveness. When you don’t know how to talk to God, here’s where you start.
When you feel like you aren’t measuring up, here’s how you stop trying so hard.