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Written by Brandi Johnston on . Posted in Discipleship

Surrender. Bitter-sweet surrender. But perhaps more accurate and more appropriate—submission. I am happily, that is obediently, stepping into the world of blogging… I cringed at the notion mostly because I am rather fond of originality. I celebrate the unique and unexpected and well there is nothing original or unexpected about me joining the masses to spew my simpleton thoughts into the world wide web for one and all to consume. And yet, here I sit laptop in hand pecking out these words. That is precisely where obedience brings us—to unfamiliar places and yes, sometimes, as in my case, to those places we dread most. This only shows that my Moses Syndrome continues to plague me though I have experienced times of remission. I will walk in obedience and currently that seems to require that I type what the Lord is showing me and teaching me. And so my blogging journey begins. There have been many things the Lord has pressed upon me over the course of months and years of pondering this blog, but because I failed to obey those thoughts have long since left me. I’m not sure what this might have looked like last year, last month or even last week, but today the thought that continues to be on my mind is knowledge. What good is knowledge? What affect does it have on the life of those who follow Christ?
How is knowledge wrapped up in discipleship?
That is, if knowledge is a basic element of discipling then how should we precede in our discipleship relationships? One of my rather brilliant seminary professors wrote this statement that continues to challenge me, “Jesus does not say ‘teaching them to know,’ but rather ‘teaching them to obey.’ Discipleship is education that results in life changing obedience.” Knowledge is a funny thing. It offers power to those who possess it. And yet, it can enslave us just as easily as grant us power. I look around at those of us who walk with God and strive to be more like Christ and wonder why we fail when we should be empowered. We have the greatest knowledge one can ever hope to possess—that God created us, loves us and despite our inadequacies He chose to redeem us through His son Jesus Christ who conquered death and in whom we now have all power and authority. And still we struggle. I think we have grown spiritually fat. We have consumed knowing what it means to be a Christian or what it can mean and failed to obey what we have learned. To walk in obedience according to what we know rather than feeling rather self-righteous and entitled in what we believe is the difference between being empowered verses enslaved. As I ponder on this thought one of the images that play through my mind is that of the character Eli from the movie “The Book of Eli.” Eli has so dedicated himself to the work the Lord has entrusted him to protect. He has memorized it word for word and yet when Solara interrupts his mission Eli responds not as one who is well versed in The Word. Eli’s spirit is pricked. He has violated the very essence of The Word he agreed to preserve that is to love others well and to serve them. Knowledge makes us a slave when we allow ourselves to delight in the power of knowing, but knowledge brings forth power when we submit ourselves to what we have learned and walk in obedience. This is The Way of the disciple of Christ. This is how we grow in knowledge and yet increase in love for others and service to them. As we live out a life of faith our lives will be messy because we are inviting in people. We allow them into our hearts and our lives. And people are messy—full of quirks and oddities that mark us all. As we obey and teach others to obey our lives will be forever interrupted. Knowledge can lead us on some remarkable adventures if we are careful to use it, it will change our lives and the lives of those around us. We must be ever diligent to protect ourselves from growing fat in knowledge all the while starving ourselves from the work it ought to be preparing us to do. May you use your knowledge well today acting on it rather than reclining on it. Grace and peace to you beloved.

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