A Framework for Faith/Spiritual Practice
For he will be called greatest in the kingdom of heaven, who fulfills in good deeds what he teaches in holy words; who by his good example goes forth as a model to the faithful, and guards faith in God in his pure heart.
- Sechnall, Audite Omnes Amantes (Irish, 5th century)
"Therefore whoever relaxes one of these commandments and teaches others to do the same will be called least in the kingdom of heaven, but whoever does them and teaches them will be called great in the kingdom of heaven."
- Matthew 5.19
Discipleship has two aspects - being and doing. We are called to be something before we are called to do anything. We must be born again and then we can follow Jesus. We must be renewed and then we can prove our discipleship. And so forth. Something happens in us, something only God can do, and then we do something with what He has done in and for us. His doing in us is all of grace; our doing some action on the basis of that is all of faith and gratitude.
The doing aspect of our discipleship has two facets - works and words. Things we do and things we teach. All followers of Jesus Christ are called to do good works. This is why we have been redeemed and given the Spirit of God (Eph. 2.10).
But we are also called to teach others to follow Jesus. We are all disciples and we are all disciple-makers (Matt.28.18-20).
Except that, in many cases, we don't do either one very well.
Patrick understood the life of faith in this way, because Patrick - about whom Sechnall was writing - read and believed his Bible. If the Bible said that being a disciple means doing good works and teaching others, then that's what Patrick would do. And did. And the Lord blessed him abundantly for his many years of doing and teaching all over Ireland.
Every day we are presented with opportunities for being disciples by doing good works for others and teaching others about the things of Christ. This is the way true disciples live, and it is the way true disciples can be assured that they are true disciples. Absent this being and doing, doing and teaching, how can we be sure that we're actually following Jesus, rather than just following the idea of Jesus?
Look ahead to your day. Whom will you see? Where will you go? What opportunities are likely to present to you for doing and teaching the Good News of the Kingdom of God? If you begin to prepare now, and commit yourself and your day to the Lord, the likelihood that you will actually be a disciple in just the way you should will be greatly enhanced.
See yourself being and doing; then go do and teach.
Today at The Fellowship of Ailbe
ReVision - I think I have just the solution for the union/budget/protest ills facing state governments.
March Download - Here's a great brief study on what it means to be saved. Free of charge. Just go get it.
Will your close friends miss the real significance of St. Patrick's Day again this year? Well, you can help. You can do something very gracious to teach them the truth about our hero. Order your friends a copy of The Legacy of Patrick from our bookstore today. And get yourself one, too.
May I encourage you to forward Crosfigell to a friend, and urge him to sign up to receive our newsletter five days a week? Copy me in the address and I'll write your friend, too.
Thanks for your faithful and generous support of our ministry.