Discipleship is not just about improving the straight-line trajectory of someone's life. I came to this conclusion during a conversation recently about a friend who needed to do some work in their marriage. It came out of the blue, like one of those clear-sky rainstorms that makes you question your eyesight, and I realized that the calling Jesus gives us to follow Him is not just to pretty-up the endgame of our lives and improve our decision making in the future about moral and ethical questions and move us into more opportunities to serve those experiencing injustice.
God isn't that simple.
We are all part of a bigger cycle - our discipleship, our formation, our families and communities - are directly impacted by how we change. God changes us not so we'll have a better life but that we can interject a holy widget into the cycle of abuse, poverty, brokenness and hate. When the gears of the death and despair machine come to a screeching halt it forces the world, our community, our family, to try and make sense of a new reality.
It's the the "kingdom come here and now like it is where you are" (Matt. 6:9-10) moment when the stream begins flowing the opposite direction. When hate is replaced by love, when fear is replaced by resurrection hope and perfect love and people act beyond their own decisiveness and energy to perform feats of holiness that shock the world into submission before the King Jesus who is the source of it all in the first place.
You are not being saved, redeemed, and rescued for your own sake. You're being rescued to gum up the works in the mechanism of evil.
This changes things, doesn't it?
What cycle are you in right now and how is the Spirit of Jesus transforming you? What's the relationship between your cycle and your transformation?