Years ago I read a newspaper interview with a spry 105 year old woman who had just celebrated another birthday. I forget nearly all the details of the article except for one question the interviewer asked: “After so many years of life, what do you know for certain that you would like to pass on to others?” “Oh”, she said, “I don’t know anything for certain! But I do suspect a few things.”
After spending the bulk of my life doing my level-best to call young people into discipleship, a steady willingness to “rethink” seems to be an important key to transformation. We must be wary of certainty, and aim at confidence. I have come to believe that when Jesus opened his ministry with the command to “Repent, for the Kingdom of God is at hand” he was calling the world to something more than a one-time decision to follow Him, but rather to a lifetime of rethinking the ideas, attitudes, and habits that have littered our minds by the spirit of the age. Discipleship is a lifelong process of being transformed “by the renewing of your mind.” (Romans 12:1-2)
In the series, The Chosen, Peter reacts to something Jesus has said: “But this is different.” And Jesus, with a twinkle in his eye, answers, “Get used to different.” So often we in the modern church have allowed our religious ideas to harden like concrete into certainty, and in the process have short-circuited the opportunity to grow and change.
“Get used to different.” (And by the way, this applies to The Chosen, too. As much as I enjoy the beautiful storytelling of the series, it demands discernment between the clear Biblical truth, and the creative license of the writers. Test all things)!
In the classroom I begin nearly every session with the challenge, “Test everything I say. I too am a disciple, and though I am confident in what I teach, it’s possible I could be wrong. Look at these scriptures with me, and if they do not support what I teach, then stop me, and help me to see my error.” I hope you will do the same. I’m far from an authority on the things I write about, but I present them with a degree of confidence that they seem to be true according to the scriptures, plain reason, and experiential fruit.
The disciples of Jesus are not hardened scribes, but lifelong learners.