(Aiden with Daniel, his Daddy, on the first day of school)
Yesterday was a proud moment to watch my youngest grandson (Aiden, I call him “Bug”) go to his first day of school. It reminded me of so many moments of growth for my sons and oldest grandson. They have come so far because they have had constant schooling over the years. This represents Aiden’s first steps of formal education, one of many steps he will take throughout his life – learning and growing. I hope to be around when he gets his doctorate (as he was around to see me get mine).
The Christian life is about learning and growing. The word the Gospels used to describe Jesus’ followers was “disciple.” In Greek the word is mathetes which literally means “learner.” Jesus’ end-game for learning is not to be smart or have intellectual power, but for transformation. That is why Jesus not only taught “concepts,” he modeled “life.” As His followers learned to walked in His way, they were transformed into something remarkable: common fishermen, despised tax collectors and social misfits became the most influential men and women in human history.
We know that transformation is central to Whole Life Worship (see Romans 12:2). What we may not know is that the primary vehicle for transformation is the slow process of “learning and growing” into Christ-likeness. We do not get “zapped” into becoming world-changers. We do not say some special prayer and – presto! – we are like Jesus. It takes years and years of learning how to walk with Jesus before we ever get to the point where we begin to walk like Jesus.
That is why we focus so much on getting connected with God in the “everyday ordinary” in Whole Life Worship. We can worship God like crazy in a worship service, but it won’t necessarily change who we are. It’s only when we learn to worship Him in our daily decisions, call to Him in every need, and consistently turn to Him throughout the day that we learn our way to Christ-likeness.
But this requires us to take a “learning and growing” posture. We cannot be content to be spiritual “spectators” in life. We must not settle into being Christian “consumers” in our churches. As Paul states in 2 Cor 5:15, we should no longer “live for ourselves, but for Him who died for us and was raised again.” This does not come easily or naturally. We need to learn to connect with God in Personal Worship. We need the support and encouragement of our Spiritual Friends. We need to be reminded of the Kingdom vision in Congregational Worship. And we need to apply our lessons of faith to Everyday Ordinary life.
So as my “Aiden-Bug” starts Transitional Kindergarten, I pray that he will learn his lessons well so that when he graduates from college – some 18 or so years from now – he will be ready to face the world. Likewise, I pray that we learn the real lessons well from our Master Teacher so that we will be ready to change the world with God’s Word, Life, Light, and Love.