14 December 2016 by romanin
I’ve heard it said that the longest distance is from the head to the heart. I don’t know who first said it. I’ve searched and it seems that the phrase is used ad nauseam but is never referenced to a person as an original quote, so I don’t know who first said it. Anyway, I think it relates to discipleship in a big way.
Working in ministry, I’ve spent the last year sort of finding the need that I ought to be filling in my particular context, and the answer that I currently see is discipleship. I need to be engaging in discipleship. And what is that? I believe that discipleship is the process of walking with someone and guiding them toward a more intimate relationship with and worship of Jesus. The distance between the mind and heart relates to both the need for discipleship and the process of it.
Many churches have some sort of discipleship program or at least a bible study or Sunday school program to help younger believers learn about the stories of the Bible and the doctrines of the church and of course basic tenets of the faith. With programs like this, there are usually classes of 5 to 20 attendees or more, and it can sort of be a classroom setting, often with discussion and audience participation. This is all good, but here’s where I see a gap.
Many people, even in these settings, are afraid to open up and talk about the deeper doubts and hurts in their lives. Even in the midst of these learning settings, people have shame and don’t feel safe really laying bare the things of their heart. The consequence is that the road from the mind to the heart is blocked.
What I mean is this. If you are a Christian, you’ve heard that God is love. You’ve heard and probably “know” that God loves you and believes you are precious. You probably “know” that your sins have been forgiven. You probably would say that God is able to heal. You probably could talk about how God enables us to do things through the power of his Holy Spirit. You may even have stories of times when you think this happened in your own life. But many of us, although we have trained our minds to respond favorably to these precepts, have trouble truly believing them in our hearts.
God loves me, but only when I act this way.
God has forgiven me… mostly… except for that one time…
God can heal… I think… but he probably won’t
God has enabled people to do amazing things, but I’m not one of those special people that God has chosen to act through.
Often we have secret pain and secret shame and secret sin and secret doubt. These things will remain hidden unless we feel safe enough with someone to open up and be known. This is where I think true discipleship lies, and this is where I think the road from the head to the heart may be traveled, and these doubts addressed. Of course it is ultimately the work of the Holy Spirit, but I just don’t think we were meant to just coast on our own until the Holy Spirit decides to heal. I think that God intends for us to come along side one another as brothers and sisters.
I’m convicted that discipleship needs to be personal, one needs to be present and willing to listen. Time needs to be spent; it will probably be messy, but I think that through the mess there is real opportunity for real healing. The Bible affirms that God does love us deeply, no matter what. The bible affirms that God has forgiven us of all of our sin. The bible affirms that God can heal. The bible affirms that God makes us able to do his will. If we are the body of Christ shouldn’t we be the ones to demonstrate that and show that to our younger brothers and sisters?