5 Ways God Wants to Disrupt Your Life

Cortney Whiting

iBelieve Contributor
Updated Aug 12, 2020
5 Ways God Wants to Disrupt Your Life

Rick Warren once said, “the Bible tells us that Jesus Christ came to do three things. He came to have my past forgiven, you get a purpose for living, and a home in Heaven.” While the evangelist correctly describes some of our Savior’s purpose on earth, He also came in obedience to establish the kingdom of God. His teaching and ministry while on earth called disciples to a new way of life. This way of life required followers to change their thoughts and actions.  Today, we will examine how Jesus continues to call us as His disciples out of a lifestyle of routine and into a journey of holy disruption.

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Small paper boats following one leader

1. A Call to Follow

When Jesus called his disciples to follow Him, it was not the first time these men encountered the Teacher. Some of the men were disciples of John the Baptist, others witnessed Christ’s teaching and miracles. When Jesus said to, “Follow me,” he requested the disciples give up their current way of life and commit to his ways. In Mark 1:16-20 it states they left immediately and followed him, leaving everything behind. When Jesus called his disciples, he requested complete commitment.

On other occasions, potential disciples asked if they could bury their father or say goodbye to family before following in discipleship. Jesus says no, regarding the task as an excuse for lack of commitment (Luke 9:57-62). At first this seems like a harsh treatment from Jesus. Yet, we must understand that half-hearted discipleship is ungenuine. Paul equates the Christian life with the life of an athlete; the one who completes the race receives the prize.

When Jesus calls us into discipleship with Him, we must understand that it is a commitment that is to affect every aspect of our lives. Luke 14:25-33 examines the cost of discipleship.  In this passage Jesus uses hyperbole to emphasize to his listeners the importance of placing priority on discipleship. It is for the committed, not the comfortable.

2. A Call to Repentance

One of Jesus’ first messages when He began to preach was the message of repentance. Repentance is not simply the act of accepting forgiveness. Rather, it involves changing the mind with regret and turning away from sin. Jesus rebuke those who refuse to repent and believe (Luke 13:3-5). A critical part of repentance is recognizing our sin for what it is – a barrier between us and God. This was one of the problems the Pharisees had with Jesus – they failed to see their own sin while trying to see sin in one who was without any. Jesus sought those who could understand their need for a Savior (Mark 2:17). 

Jesus used the analogy of a physician to patients to compare His relationship to sinners. Another way Jesus showed this relationship is through the physical healings he performed. On many occasions, Jesus healed someone physically and gave them specific instructions afterwards. These instructions helped them move forward from their previous lifestyle (John 5:8). This illustrates how the Great Physician heals His people for a new purpose. When we are called to a life of discipleship, we must leave behind all that hindered us and walk in our newness of life. 

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3. A Call to Give

Jesus states how difficult it is for the rich to enter into the kingdom of God (Matthew 9:23). A rich ruler wanted to follow Jesus and the Rabbi told him that he must go sell everything he had and give it to the poor and then he would inherit the kingdom of God (Mark 10:17-27). This teaching seems harsh, but Jesus understood that the man’s wealth divided his heart. Even though he followed the law, he could not give everything up to follow Christ.

Jesus desires us to give generously. This is more difficult than the Old Testament command of giving a tithe in that there is no limit to the expectation. Jesus tells his followers to give out of what they have been given. He commends a widow’s offering of two copper coins because she gave all she had (Mark 13:41-44).

A popular modern teaching is the prosperity gospel. This theology teaches that Jesus rewards faith with financial blessing. However, Jesus left heaven and became poor. He lived a humble life and died with nothing.  He honored those who valued the spiritual over the material. As His followers, we are to place our value in Him above all else. When Jesus asks His followers to give, He asks it to be a reflection of their whole-hearted commitment to Him that joyfully meets the needs of others rather than looks to what can be gained. 

4. A Call to Love

As followers of Christ, we are called to a lifestyle of love. Throughout Jesus’ ministry, His teachings encapsulated a message of love. Jesus taught his followers to love their enemies and to pray for those who persecuted them (Matthew 5:44; Luke 6:27-31). In the Upper Room, Jesus gives His disciples a new command to love one another. It is by their love that the world will know that they are His disciples (John 13:34-35). Love that is sacrificial, sincere, and not self-seeking.

Jesus illustrates practical love through the story of the Good Samaritan, where a stranger shows mercy to one in need. As His disciples, we are to look to Christ as our ultimate example of love, who bore the cross for our sins. Christlike love is not a passive response to a friend’s invitation. Rather, it is actively seeking how to reach the needs of the hardened, the weak, the unknown and the vulnerable. How have you gone out of your way to love someone recently as a response to Christ’s call to love?

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5. A Call to Serve

Jesus clearly stated that He did not come to earth to be served but to serve and give His life as a ransom for many (Matthew 20:28). In the same way, he calls his disciples to a life of service. Those who want to be great in the kingdom of God, must be a servant, according to Matthew 23:11. In Matthew 25:35-40, Jesus tells his disciples that when they clothe the naked, feed the hungry, visit the sick, and welcome the stranger, they are serving Him. Every act of compassion to those in need is a service to God.

How intentional are we in serving those in need? Do we notice those who are lonely, anxious, hungry, or heart-broken? Do we place our own insecurities aside to courageously answer the cry of another? Service requires both humility and bravery. But through Christ, we can accomplish all things.

Empowerment for Discipleship

Perhaps you feel overwhelmed by the cost of discipleship. Truly active faith in Christ is not for the weak or uncommitted. But Jesus promises His followers that they are not alone and without hope. He gives His Spirit to all who believe in Him. The Spirit gives life and empowerment to help and teach believers in all things. (For more verses on how the Spirit empowers us to do this, take a look at Romans 8:6, John 14:26, and John 16:13-15). We are to partner with the Spirit and to live according to the Spirit’s guidance.

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Practical Steps for Holy Disruption

1. Consider the Cost – Jesus calls us to new life.  That new life requires us to leave our old ways of selfishness and sin and follow the teachings of Jesus. His truth is not for the uncommitted, but for those who desire radical transformation. Take a moment to think how your life is drastically different since you have become a follower of Christ. As you continue to learn His ways, you will find Him changing you to be more like Him.

2. Confession and Repentance – King David asked God to search his heart and find any offensive way within him (Psalm 139:23-24). Start by asking God to examine your life and point out any ways that need changing.

3. Giving with Gladness – The apostle Paul wrote to the Corinthians about the importance of examining their motives in giving (2 Corinthians 9:6-7). God loves a cheerful giver. In examining how you utilize your time, talents, and wealth, ask yourself not only how much you give to the Lord, but with what attitude do you give them away? Are you withholding anything from Him that He wants to use for the kingdom – whether it is something of substance or spiritual nature?

4. Loving Liberally – Jesus never tells His disciples to withhold love. If we want Jesus to disrupt our lives, simply ask Him to show you someone you could love better. Who do you know that needs to be shown grace, compassion, or forgiveness? How might you shine the light of Jesus to that person in a practical way?

5. Serving Selflessly – We live in a self-serving society. Yet, Jesus calls us to a life of humility and servitude. We are to think of others as greater than ourselves and are to look out for the needs of others. In a time of crises, try to think of ways you can protect, encourage, and serve others rather than simply looking after your own comforts and needs. It is one way the church can serve as the Body of Christ even if we cannot gather in community.

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Cortney Whiting is a wife and mom of two preteens. She received her Master of Theology Degree from Dallas Theological Seminary. After serving in the church for nearly 15 years, Cortney currently teaches at a Christian school and writes for various Christian ministries. You can find her at her blog, https://recapturefaith.com.

Originally published Wednesday, 12 August 2020.