Updated: Aug 19, 2020
by Dave Miller
When it comes to disciple making, often less is more, but when it comes to the Word of God, more is more.
10 years ago, spurred on by introductions to the writings of Dallas Willard, Dietrich Bonhoeffer, AW Tozer, and Robert Coleman, I made a significant shift in my thinking on discipleship: obedience is just as important as knowledge...
8 years ago, spurred on by the writings of Neil Cole and Paul Tripp, among others and watching the progress of disciples, I made a significant shift in my practice of disciple making: scripture intake directly impacts the rate of maturity and obedience...
Looking back, and observing the patterns of dozens of disciples who have spent significant time with me, both rapidly maturing, rapidly falling away, and everything in between, I have recognized a reason why the combination of large portions of scripture intake coupled with simple obedience radically effects the rate of maturity in a disciple: worldview.
Worldview is the lens through which we perceive the world. We don’t look at our worldview, we look through it. It is the way we interpret the messages and information that surround us every moment of every day. Regular intake of scripture in large quantities drastically changes our worldview, often without us even knowing.
As an example, if I, or anyone for that matter, read or listened through Genesis - Deuteronomy 2 times in 20 weeks, we may not have a full understanding of the symbolism of the tabernacle, or the importance of things like the image of God in man, but a monumental shift will take place in our perception. God is orchestrating the moments of this world for His purposes. The irony? This monumental shift will be so subtle most fail to realize it takes place. Yet, everyone around them will take notice. This unawareness is precisely because we look through a worldview not at a worldview.
While the disciple is struggling to understand all the information, possibly stressing over the disturbing stories, or wrestling with the veracity of the miracles, the Spirit of the Lord is training them to see the world as one under the command and control of their God. Instead of asking, “Is there a God?” or “Why should I listen to God” or “Is God in control?” They ask, “Why would God?” or “How did God?” or “Will God?” I have watched this shift take place every single time a disciple took seriously intake of God’s word with a desire for simple obedience. The result? Significant leaps in maturity, understanding, and influence for the kingdom, along with increasing faith, hope, and love.
One disciple in particular, followed Jesus in spite of severe anxiety and depression. He would be up one week and at the bottom the next, sometimes multiple times a week. I noticed the rise and fall would flatten as he spent more time in the Word. In our time together we asked, “What did you learn? and What are you going to do about it?” after both reading 20-30 chapters of the same scripture the preceding week. When his intake became irregular, his mood swings would wreak havoc on relationships and life. When his intake increased in quantity and regularity, his outlook and perspective of life’s moments drastically changed. Anxiety was replaced with faith. Hope was substituted for fear. Love for others grew. Decision capacity was spent on present realities instead of wasted on concocted worries. His worldview shifted to the sovereignty of God for His purposes which caused the disciple to look for how God was working. Life suddenly was no longer always spinning out of control. When his thinking stayed focused on looking for the work of God, the scriptures became more and more important, intake became a habit of necessity, resulting in a continual shift in his perception of the world around him. As with this disciple, I can usually tell when others are no longer consistently in the Word. I can also tell when they are.
From my experience, the two responses I receive most often to 20-30 chapters of scripture weekly are: 1) That is too much. 2) I am not getting anything out of it, so I need to slow down to learn. My response: The Lord is doing much more through His Word than what you think or recognize. The Bible tells the story from one perspective: God’s purpose and Glory. Just hearing the story told in a completely foreign worldview from any other messages you hear, trains your mind to process everything you see, hear, taste, touch, and smell in entirely new and biblical ways. This perspective, in turn, transforms your heart response to all of life.
A good tree doesn’t produce bad fruit; on the other hand, a bad tree doesn’t produce good fruit. For each tree is known by its own fruit. Figs aren’t gathered from thornbushes, or grapes picked from a bramble bush. A good person produces good out of the good stored up in his heart. An evil person produces evil out of the evil stored up in his heart, for his mouth speaks from the overflow of the heart. - Luke 6:43-45
Therefore, brothers and sisters, in view of the mercies of God, I urge you to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God; this is your true worship. Do not be conformed to this age, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may discern what is the good, pleasing, and perfect will of God. - Romans 12:1-2
Raising up a generation of disciples who truly identify as the priesthood of their King, requires an intimate familiarity with the Bible AND an ability to discern with the worldview of the Bible. Understanding the verses produce the first, but knowing the Story produces the second. We need both quality and quantity of the scriptures to walk as Jesus walked. Scripture intake directly impacts the rate of maturity and obedience in our disciples.
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