“The heavens declare the glory of God, and the sky above proclaims his handiwork.” -Psalm 19:1
“The law of the LORD is perfect, reviving the soul.” -Psalm 19:7
I recently wrote a short story for my Creative Writing class. This story is about a pastor (typical, right?) who slowly realizes that he was never meant to be a pastor, mainly because his life of discipleship with the Lord lacks substance. He can speak well but doesn’t acknowledge why he has that ability. He can make people happy but doesn’t acknowledge why he has that ability. On the outside, he is more than capable of being a pastor. But on the inside, he is not being changed by God. And his congregation is suffering because of that. His discipleship with the Lord is not full in the sense that it does not satisfy an outward and inward satisfaction of following the Lord.
The inspiration for this story came from a study on discipleship I am developing and a Psalm I read through. If you haven’t already, read Psalm 19. This Psalm is split into two distinct halves. The first half (vs. 1-6) uses the common name of God and speaks of the wonders of His creation, and the second half (vs. 7-14) uses the personal name of God (YHWH) and speaks of His law.
Now what does this have to do with discipleship?
In my story, there was an outward expression, but there was no inward expression of God’s glory working in the main character. This Psalm portrays an outward and inward expression of how God chooses to reveal Himself. In the first half, God uses nature as an outward expression of Himself. In the second half, we get a more personal name denoting a more personal experience. God is using the revelation of His law as a personal and inward expression of Himself.
As for us, there must be a realm of our discipleship in which we lead people in an apparent outwardly exultation of His glory. This does not mean praying in a place so everyone can see you. It means using what God has given you to create. What do I mean when I use the word create? We must act in such a way that produces life. If we are pious with our outward expression, we don’t produce life. We destroy it.
This realm must be matched with an inward expression in which we are given life through the personal experience of God. And the inward expression must give reason for the outward expression. For instance, I can look at nature but I can’t attribute much to it unless I have God’s revelation of His Son working in me. Only then can I stand in awe of the rising and setting of the sun, giving all the glory to God.
Our discipleship has to be satisfied within these two realms in order for our missional work to be effective. I call the use of these two realms Creative Discipleship. Why creative? Because when discipleship is effective, it has the power to create. And by create, I mean be able to produce life within someone by drawing them into the One who gave us life. We do not create ex nihilo though. We do not give life. We create out of what Christ Jesus has already given us because ultimately, it is not we who are creating, but Him who is creating through us.
That is why I refer to any dancer, any artist, any filmmaker, any singer/songwriter, any speaker, any athlete, etc. who is engaged in a discipleship relationship that satisfies both realms as being engaged in Creative Discipleship. Not many of us think of what we are doing as discipleship. But we have the power to influence lives in everything we do. We have the power to create in those situations. Therefore, it is a form of outwardly discipleship.
Next time you do anything, think of it as a discipleship opportunity and seek your inward and personal revelation of God’s glory to give reason to your outward. In that way you will draw people in and create.
Discipleship gives life and it breathes life. It creates and it procreates. It is a life of creativity that we all must realize. We were created by Creative Hands and we also have that power if we seek to create with the help of the One who created us. Inwardly and outwardly proclaim His Glory, so that we can create.