Meet Carolyn Harris, one of my stellar DTS interns. She's a physician who left her practice to train to bring the healing ministry of Jesus to others. Enjoy her new discovery:
I’m a nerd. I love numbers, Sudoku puzzles, and getting lost in reading for hours at a time. So when an “A-ha!” moment confronts me like the splash of a cool fountain on a hot summer day, I am refreshed. Imagine my joy when I was plugging along learning how to read biblical Greek and came upon the word for disciple. It’s the same root word for mathematics. Intrigued, I considered what the two had in common.
I remember loving math class as a kid and enjoying the homework (I told you I was a nerd!) I liked practicing with the new concepts, boosting my confidence from the now-easier basics. Working with multiplication and division was based off my solid understanding of addition and subtraction. Learning squares and square roots built on multiplication and division.
I never got “past” addition and subtraction. They were always there, every day, every problem. And they actually became tools to help me learn more. Even problems in high school Calculus demanded I regularly add and subtract. There was no way I could work with integrals and derivatives without adding and subtracting, but they were only the foundation. I had to keep learning, one skill at a time, to get to those higher math levels. And I couldn’t just hear about a math concept to understand it fully. I had to do the homework. It was the daily practice that made me learn it. I didn’t learn it completely by hearing someone explain it to me. I had to actually do it myself.
Then it hit me. That’s what being a disciple is! The foundational truth—that God so loved the world that He gave His One and Only Son, that whoever believes in Him would not perish but have everlasting life—is with me every day. I need it every day. But I need to grow in it. I want to learn how to “love one another as I have loved you” and “be subject to one another in the fear of Christ” and “consider it all joy.” And I can only learn by practicing what I’m taught. Practicing it every day. And as I practice, one new skill at a time, the Holy Spirit will grow me. As I practice the truths in the Bible, I am a disciple of Jesus Christ.
It takes intentionality on my part, but the journey itself is an exciting invitation to walk with the Spirit! I will get no more of the Spirit next year than I have this year, just like I will never get “past” addition and subtraction. But as I grew in my understanding and application of those fundamentals, I can grow in my understanding of the Holy Spirit and His applications in and through me. All through daily practice of what He is teaching me. It’s the daily practice that makes me a disciple.
For years I sat every week in church, attended conferences, went to Bible studies. But I could tell I needed more. I kept digging in books, focusing on my internal character and how I interacted with others, and praying on my knees before God to “know” Him more. And I did learn and grow, some. But I did not realize what I was doing was like trying to learn math by going to class without doing any of the homework. Doing the homework is learning. No way around it. And practicing the truths in the Bible is the only way to really be a disciple of Jesus Christ.
For those of us who long to grow as disciples, this is good news! We don’t have to figure it all out and then live it out. We figure it out by living it out. Then we can enjoy the never-ending journey of growing as disciples of Jesus Christ.