Pursuing ‘we-Life’ in an i-Culture
By Thurman Hayes
As followers of Jesus, we can sometimes be guilty of muddying the waters of the assignment our King has given us, when in reality those waters are crystal clear.
He gives us our marching orders in Matthew 28:19, and they are not ambiguous. Jesus commands us to “Go therefore and make disciples.”
Simply put, this means that, as followers of Christ, we are to go forth and help others follow Jesus. That’s the subtitle of Mark Dever’s excellent little book, “Discipling: Helping Others Follow Jesus.”
Of course, this means that to be Jesus followers, we have to reorient our lives from self to others. As I write these words, my iPhone and iPad are within reach, as they usually are for most of us. But here is a pertinent question for us, which Dever poses: “Is there any space in the i-Life for the we-Life of Christianity?”
Jesus said, “Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men” (Mark 1:17). This means that if we are serious about following him, our lives are going to be reoriented around others.
Whatever business we are in, ultimately we are in the people business. Our lives are going to take on an outward focus, as we look up to God in faith and out to others in love.
In the process, we will find joy, which is spelled J-O-Y. First, Jesus. Second, Others. Third, You. As Jesus said, “Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it” (Matthew 10:39).
The more we try to hold onto our time, our gifts, our money and our possessions, the more life slips through our fingers. But the more we allow these things to slip through our fingers for the sake of Christ and the good of others, the more we find life.
Real life. Abundant life. A life of JOY.
You see, when it comes to the love of God in Christ, there is a chain reaction. 1 John 4:19 says, “We love because he first loved us.”
The first part of the chain reaction is that we experience God’s love for us. The message that Christ died for us and rose for us begins to sink in and take root in our lives. And when it does, then two other parts of the chain reaction take place: We love God, and we love others.
But really loving others is not just about saying it, but doing it. It is one thing to say we love people from a distance. It is another thing to actually love people up close.
Start with your family members and the fellow members of your local church family.
And start looking at life through different lenses.
We all have influence. The issue is, “How are you using your influence?” Are you using it to help others follow Jesus?
How do you use meals? You have to eat, right? What if you started using more of your meals to make disciples? What if you started using more of your spare time to help others follow Jesus and less of your spare time watching TV? What if you started involving other people in the things you normally do?
What kind of impact could you have if you truly embraced the We-life?
Dr. Thurman R. Hayes is senior pastor of First Baptist Church of Suffolk. Follow him on Twitter at @ThurmanHayesJr.