I preached about church on Sunday from Colossians (listen here) and a few things have struck me since on further reflection. To love the church, to really love the body of Christ as Jesus does is to love others. To love God and to love your neighbour are intimately and intricately woven together. I didn’t bring that out as well as I could have done and it’s only really hitting me now.
Secondly, this feeds into another train of thought that has been swirling around for a while, which is ‘what does it mean to be a disciple?’ The great commission has always struck me, and even though I’m a church planter (I have the perfect personality for that according to the tests Matt Hosier blogs about) it’s the making disciples and teaching them to obey Jesus’ commands that interests me.
I’ve begun to study and re-read the Gospels looking for the commands of Jesus (I know there are lists on the tinternet but that makes me lazy and I miss context and the opportunity to read afresh) and noting them. Then I’ll look for how they help in the development of disciples. I’ll blog it, I’m sure.
Anyway going back to where I started, it seems to me that a fundamental definition of a disciple could be given as ‘one growing in love of Jesus and of people.’
Growing is important because it implies following, movement, progress, learning, development and maturity. Love because, well that one should be self explanatory. Jesus rather than God because today God can be too vague, so much of anything it becomes nothing. Jesus is uniquely Christian, trinitarian, and He is after all who we are following. People because well that what’s Jesus said the other great command was.
Anyway loving people & loving church surely means a growing openness to some form of community, of deeper relationships however that is expressed. At the heart of community there has to be relationship and love otherwise it becomes law or cause – both powerful but in my not very humble opinion not enough to succeed.