Your Reconstruction Story as Told by Jesus
Back in high school I used to ask myself, How can I make disciples like Jesus if I don’t literally walk everywhere and have people follow me as I walk? Over the years, that has morphed into wondering what it looks like to make disciples as much like Jesus as possible—without thinking that I can actually do it in the same literal way that Jesus did.
Over the past couple of decades, I’ve worked out a way that has helped me disciple people one at a time and in small groups. It’s an adaptation of Jesus’ way to disciple people. It’s not perfect, considering the limitations of being me, but I’ve found it to be a fruitful way to make disciples.
One thing I’ve honed in on is the active work that God (in Christ and by the Holy Spirit) does in people which they cannot do themselves. I’ve dubbed that work the “elements of discipleship,” and there are three elements. The first element is that Jesus deconstructs our lives and not vice versa (see my first article on this topic). The second element is that Jesus repairs the foundation that He deconstructed. The third element is that Jesus renovates the structure of our lives on Himself as the new foundation (see my next article).
Christ’s deconstruction digs to the core of our being and removes anything foundational that can’t be reused.
When that is finished, nothing is left in its place, except for things that God means to always be foundational (such as “his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived,” see Romans 1). As Paul wrote to the Colossians, “You have died” (Col. 3:3). This “death,” though, isn’t the end but the foundation for the beginning. It is to the old things of life to which we are dead, but now “your life is hidden with Christ in God” and “when Christ, who is your life, is revealed, then you will also be revealed with Him in glory” (Col. 3:3-4). Christ becomes the very thing which now defines life in our lives. He becomes that which repairs everything which sin had destroyed.
It is in John’s gospel that we find how Jesus is repairer as well as the actual repairing material. Simply put, Jesus is I am. He is everything foundational. It is in His “I am” statements that we find Jesus as what is needed to repair our foundation.
Here are Christ’s 7 statements, with short descriptions of how He repairs our life’s foundation.
- “I am the bread of life”(John 6:35; also see 6:26) – I am the full satisfaction of the pangs of appetite that you feel.
- “I am the light of the world” (John 8:12) – I am the full illumination in the darkness that surrounds you.
- “I am the door” (John 10:9) – I am the entrance into the full experience of security that you seek.
- “I am the Good Shepherd” (John 10:11) – I am the full provider you need as you traverse life’s dangers.
- “I am the resurrection and the life” (John 11:25-26) – I am the full life that you hope for as you walk among the dead.
- “I am the way, the truth and the life” (John 14:6) – I am the full fullness of reality you have always hoped existed.
- “I am the vine” (John 15:5) – I am the bringer of full fruit of life and joy that comes through your life in me.
These verses do indeed proclaim to us the elemental reality of who Jesus is. But they also teach us that Jesus is elementally present and foundational to our new life. He is these things; there’s nothing we can do to make Him them. And by his grace and our faith, He repairs the damage done by sin and the disruption brought by the deconstruction.
Consider these questions as you seek to follow Christ as He repairs your life’s foundation and makes you into His disciple:
- Jesus is the bread of life, but is He your bread of life? Are you letting Him be your nourishment, as He said in Matthew 4:4, “Man cannot live on bread alone but by every word from the Father?”
- Jesus is the light of the world, but is He the light on the path you’re following as you move towards His desired destination? Or are you, like some of the Colossians, living in the “shadow of the things that were to come,” according to your “earthly nature” (Col. 2:17, 3:5)?
- Jesus is the door. But are you opening it, entering it on His terms, and letting Him in so that He might influence and protect your life in every way? Or are you wandering around the outside of His boundaries?
- Jesus is the Good Shepherd. But are you following Him? Or do you keep living like a lost sheep, waiting in the wilderness for Him to come find you, when all the while you could have been under His care—safe, sound and secure?
- Jesus is the resurrection and the life. But are you alive with Him? Or are you like the believers in Sardis who had a reputation of being alive but were, by Christ’s own judgment, actually dead and needing to wake up? (Rev 3:1)?
- Jesus is the way, the truth and the life. But are you following His ways, are you believing His truths, and are you living His life? Or are you walking the wide path—blown like chaff (Ps. 1) following the world’s ways, tossed and turned (Eph. 4:14) believing the world’s lies, considering the gospel as foolish (1 Cor. 1:18) and walking the world’s death?
- Jesus is the vine. But are you abiding in Him, on His terms, as made evident by the fruits of the Spirit (Gal. 5:22-23) being born out of your life? Or is the fruit that comes from you fleshly (Gal. 5:19-21), thus revealing the true state of your place as a disciple?
Long ago, I asked what it meant to follow Jesus and lead others in the same thing. I’m continuing to learn of Jesus as the one who deconstructs our lives and repairs/is the repair material for our broken foundations. I’m continuing to learn what it means to respond by faith to the work only He can do. And I’m growing in what it means to become more of what He’s always intended me to be and to lead others in what He intends for them. More of that will be outlined in the next article on Jesus as renovator.
Christ becomes that which repairs everything which sin had destroyed.