The bad fruit of bad teaching has been discussed in previous articles. We see the fruit in a society run amuck. We see it in people who have lost the capacity to care, because they are so self-focused. It is evident in the methods used to protect oneself from further emotional pain. But, that does not mean we should not love and care for ourselves
This video goes great with the last post on this blog.
Protecting the self is an exercise in futility. Being vulnerable is counter-intuitive, but it is the path of true strength.
Listen to this 20-minute talk by Dr. Brown where she shows how being vulnerable is necessary for our true healing from the pain of shame.
Could it be that the true way to a healthy self-esteem and a powerful love of self is completely contrary to our natural way of thinking? Might the tide of self-loathing that is causing the eating disorders, depressions, suicides, school shootings, and drug addictions be stemmed if we began to try Jesus' method of love?
Is it worth a try in your own life?
Do we really believe that Jesus, the master teacher, was using some form of hidden psychology with His statement about loving your neighbor? If so, would He not have taken time here--or at least somewhere--to explain the necessity of self love, and what it might look like? By following this line of thinking, we have only added insult to our ignorance.
Popular psychology introduced a concept in the late '70s that swept through society at light speed. Once people in the Church got hold of it, it became a tsunami that crashed through at warp speed, taking down long-held theological concepts. Now, we are beginning to see the fruit of this lie throughout society.
Photo by Darla Frantz
Do you see the world through the eyes of love?
It has often been said that the "Fruit of the Spirit" listed in Paul's letter to the Galatians is only love. Everything after that--joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness,gentleness, and self-control--are simply descriptors of that love.
There are at least three years between John 3:16 and Matthew 28:19.
Why is this significant? Because it has definite bearing on what we teach new believers.
The evangelical branch of the Church has not made the distinction between "sharing your testimony" and "making disciples."
Too often, the new believer feels that he is to go out and begin leading people to Christ. This is wrong, and has done great harm to the mission of the Church.
A new believer is not able to (as a rule) to lead people to Christ. She may be quite capable of telling people what the Lord has done for her, but she is not yet equipped to train someone in the principles of the kingdom--ie, make disciples.
About the best the new believer can do is to lead someone to church. That, in and of itself may be fine, but that is where we have stopped as a growing movement for change. We are somewhat successful in getting people to do something different with their Sunday mornings, but it stops there far too often. The churches expect people to join their programs, attend their activities, listen to sermons, and through the process of osmosis, to somehow become a follower of Jesus.
A quick look around at the condition of the Church today should convince one that this doesn't work.
Jesus told many that He helped to "not tell anyone." He also told others to tell what the Lord had done for them.
There is only speculation about why He would tell some to not proclaim Him, and we can leave that for those who would like to debate the possibilities.
He told one who was healed to, "Go show yourself to the priest as a testimony..." That is the purpose we should focus on, especially with new believers. Show yourself.
Show people the new creature that God has made. Tell them what the Lord has done for you.
It really is that simple.
Once, you were in one condition; now you are in a new condition. Tell about that. What does it mean to you? How has your life changed as a result?
It is not the new believer's responsibility to "make disciples."
Notice that Jesus did not say this to the disciples until after He had been with them for at least three years. Those first disciples had Jesus in their midst as flesh and blood, hearing His words and seeing His life. Yet, it still took time for them to be able to absorb everything they had learned.
Some might argue that this command was given only because Jesus was preparing to leave the earth, and since He is gone, this command applies to all who would follow Him. That could be considered a valid argument, until we begin to look at the results of trying to practice it that way. New believers are simply not capable of making disciples. Most are not even ready to make converts. They are only capable of giving their testimony.
This is what a new believer should be encouraged to do.