I got to speak on something that is close to my heart on Sunday: discipleship. You know when you look at a child grows, they don't grow equally all over their body? Firstly their head is larger than their bodies in proportion. But as a child goes through a growth spurt their limbs seem stretched and a little out of control.
In the same way our discipleship journey can be in fits and spurts, but the important thing is to ensure that generally you have got growth holistically over time. There is no point having a massive head if you don't have a body that can hold it up!
When it comes to our walk with God, we need a foundation of understanding God's love, then the block of submitting our lives to God and His Lordship, then we find our purpose attached to those. (Access our podcast to hear me speak about these blocks).
Beyond Matt 25-26, John 16 also indicates that the Love, Lordship, Purpose framework is helpful for us.
John 16:7-11 - Nevertheless, I tell you the truth: it is to your advantage that I go away, for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you. But if I go, I will send him to you. And when he comes, he will convict the world concerning sin and righteousness and judgment: concerning sin, because they do not believe in me; concerning righteousness, because I go to the Father, and you will see me no longer; concerning judgment, because the ruler of this world is judged.
We see the work of the Holy Spirit as convicting us of sin, righteousness and judgement:
1) Convicting of sin - "because they do not believe in me"
God's love and sacrifice is what deals with sin. The Holy Spirit is not convicting us of sin to get us to BEHAVE but to BELIEVE! We are powerless over sin in and of ourselves, but with Christ we are conquerors!
2) Convicting of righteousness - "because I go to the Father".
Christ ascended to the Father, and now rules forever (Heb 12:2)! Our righteousness comes from us abiding in Christ, which comes from OBEDIENCE to Christ (John 15:10). Following Christ means denying ourselves (Matt 16:24).
3) Convicting of judgement - "because the ruler of the world is judged".
Christ time and time again referred to a day when the whole world would be judged. We have a purpose to spread the Good News of Christ before that day. Our purpose is always attached to the fact that God's love is not just for me as an individual, but for the whole world. I GET to be a part of God's redemptive plan on earth!
I sincerely hope that this framework helps you evaluate and think through how your growth is going. Not to be disappointed in yourself, but to know what to challenge yourself in. We are all still on a growth journey! My prayer is that God is able to use you mightily as you continue on that journey.