|Matthew 28:16-20: Then the
eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain where Jesus had told them to go. When
they saw him, they worshiped him; but some doubted. Then Jesus came to them and said,
"All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make
disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of
the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I
am with you always, to the very end of the age."
writing and our speaking have been commissioned by Christ to be about the making of
disciples. For many of us, the word "disciple" is either a troubling goal
we feel we cannot live up to or an idea we can easily define and therefore conveniently
pass over. The challenge for each of us is to learn how to enter into this new kind
of life. How do we learn to submit to it, to let it enliven and revolutionize us?
Dallas Willard writes in his book The Divine Conspiracy:
We often speak of people not living up to their faith. But the cases
in which we say this are not really cases of people behaving otherwise than they believe.
They are cases in which genuine beliefs are made obvious by what people do. We always live
up to our beliefsor down to them, as the case may be. Nothing else is possible. It
is the nature of belief. And the reason why clergy and others have to invest so much
effort into getting people to do things is that they are working against actual beliefs of
the people they are trying to lead.
Our foremost struggle may be one of the obedience of belief.
What will it take to be truly convinced of Christ's proclaimations? And having been
convinced of them, how will we cultivate the change they work on us?
Our words are often the battleground for our worldviews. To be a
disciple is to be a disciplined learner, and this includes disciplined words.
Writing is in a profound sense a kind of circular activity: we write what we
believe, yet we also write to learn what we believe. We enscribe in order to
understand, yet understand in order to enscribe. This is why Christ's commission is
so terribly important. It gives a purpose and end to what we do. It orients
our learning, our actions, and our lives. It helps us uncover the truth we need to live
by. It shapes our perceptions and increases our understanding.
Well-chosen words are an expression of that obedience, and writing can be an extension of
that transformation. Such words are not just empty rhetoric, but true
rhetoric. For it is in the commission of Christ that we discover, direct,and carry
out our purpose. We write to obey.