For years we have heard and used this phrase to describe the goal of every believer - "to become a fully devoted follower of Christ." It's not a bad phrase. In fact many churches have placed this phrase in their mission statements and core values as one of the goals of the church - to lead God's people to become a "fully devoted follower of Christ."
Here's the difficult question. "How do you know when you're there?"
Of course, the easy answer is "When you are in heaven."
The danger of trying to determine if you are, or if you are leading others to become "fully devoted followers ofChrist" is that often that leads to arbitrary scorecards that grade behaviors and attendance. While behavior change is going to be evident in the life of a true believer, it is dangerous to use behavior only as the litmus test.
We began to flesh this out yesterday in our ministery leadershipo meeting. While I'm not sure I fully have this figured out, it seems to me that there are three aspects of the true born again believer's life that must be addressed.
These three have to do with how a person thinks (Romans 12:2), loves (Luke 10:27), and acts (James 2:17). This isn't rocket science. Our thoughts, our heart and our actions reveal who we truly are and whose we truly are.
To connect better with my pastor friends, to alliterate this we could say that our HEAD, HEART & HANDS all show, working together how fully devoted we are to Christ.
So, being a visual learner, I drew a Venn Diagram on the board. First of all, I impressed myself that I remembered what a Venn Diagram was. Secondly, once I drew it, I saw how all three aspects of a believer's life intersect at a point where what we think, what we love and what we do all intersect. It is here, in the center of the diagram, I believe a good image of the "fully devoted follower" emerges.
Think of it this way. There are many who claim to love Jesus and just sit in their churches "thinking" of what ought to be done, normally by others. They know the Scripture. They've probably read through the Bible many times. They most likely are up to speed on all the latest Christian books on leadership, doctrine and how people should think. They, unfortunately, as some have said, become so "heavenly minded they are no earthly good." It's a corny statement, but you get the point, I'm sure.
There are also those who love Jesus and love the mission, or so they say. They just don't do anything about it. It's as if they're in love with the concept of love. Yet, they don't really love because they never act on it.
Then, there are the doers. These are the people who volunteer, serve others, work in the church and community for the good of others. The problem is that in their service, they have forgotten the point. They feed hungry people, clothe some, provide school supplies to needy children, or other such things, but they don't do so in "Jesus' name."
While living in each of these circles would be considered "good" by the world's standards, and if you could slide into two circles at once, that would be awesome, to miss just one is to miss the gospel.
Think of it as a three legged stool. If one leg were missing, well you can't sit on that stool. It's a useless piece of furniture.
The fully devoted follower of Christ renews his/her mind, loves the Lord fully and serves Him and others in Jesus name.
I'm not sure this is necessarily "grade-able" but as a personal checkpoint, it is very helpful for me.