Discipleship and Feelings
11/17/2008 | Author: RCW
After rereading my last blog, I realized that I may need to bring some clarification. Notice the title was "Discipleship AND Learning". This is worth noting since it means the two are separate things. They should not be equated as though one IS the other or that they are interchangeable somehow. Rather, there is a very unique relationship between the two that deserved mentioning.

Everyone should know that discipleship is more than just "learning." If someone is a "learner" of Christ, or a "learner" of "The Way" as Luke liked to call it, there is certainly more to it than simply an academic acquiring of knowledge. (Although I will readily admit that I am one who many times emphasizes the importance of reading and using one's mind for God's glory than may be normal... If so, it is simply because I am trying to bring change to an area within the church where I see room for improvement. :) There are a few outstanding books on this topic...Fit Bodies Fat Minds by Os Guinness; The Scandal of the Evangelical Mind by Mark Noll; and Your Mind Matters by John Stott. The latter is the shortest if you find yourself particularly deficient in this area. :) There are actually several others, but these are just some very good ones that I have read.)

No, discipleship is more than getting knowledge or acquiring facts. Discipleship also involves the emotions, feelings, and affections. In my own estimation however, the role of emotions can never surpass the role of the intellect in our walk with Christ. That is, we can't and shouldn't get ourselves emotionally excited or pious over unintelligible gibberish, but rather the truth and facts within God's word. After all, Christ desires that we worship in spirit AND in truth, having a zeal or passion for God THAT ACCORDS WITH knowledge. What might be helpful to remember is that our emotions tend to simply follow after our thoughts in the end. We can (for the most part) rarely feel something that we cannot ultimately understand or rationalize, explain, comprehend, or find a general reason for the feeling.

What I would say very briefly about our emotions and their role in the discipleship process is that they can trick us. They can go up or down in a matter of moments. We need keep them grounded in God's word. The human heart is deceitful according to scripture and is in need of Christ to renew it. Discipleship actually involves us laying down our selfish emotions and affections and allowing God to reshape both our mind and heart. In the end, our prayer should be that God would cause our hearts to think and feel in ways that please Him... to love the things that He loves, to hate the things that He hates, to laugh at the things he would laugh at, to be angry at the things He would be angry about, etc.

In essence, being a disciple or "learner" involves not just acquiring knowledge and reading or studying the Bible, but also applying it in our core so that it penetrates both our thinking as well as our feeling. As "learners" of Christ, we do more than learn new facts about Him by reading our Bibles. We also adopt His demeanor, conform to His likeness, live by His standards, value the things He values, love what He loves, and bring our own sentiments into line with His own.


Prayer: God, help me to give you my heart as well as my mind. Create in me a clean heart, Oh God - one that beats in tune with yours. Give me a heart that is married to a mind centered and concretely focused upon your truth. Make me love what I ought, hate what I should, and feel what you feel towards everything in between. I ask you to reshape my thinking and my feeling. I commit my emotions and affections to you now this day. Amen.

P.S. Have you read or heard someone explain this before in a similar or more convincing way? How or when did you personally first come to understand and practice this aspect of discipleship? Let me know about it! I am always looking for new resources and ready to hear about other believers' experiences!
This entry was posted on 11/17/2008 and is filed under , . You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.