The Nature of Our Calling (John 15:1-20)
- Called to be With Jesus (John 15:4)
- Jesus' primary model for leadership is that of discipleship. Those whom He called to lead He first called to follow Him and to enter into a lifelong relationship with Him. In so doing He was inviting them to do nothing more than He Himself was doing; Jesus learned from the Father and did only what He saw His father doing. Every effective leader is also an willing follower and never seeks to be anything else (Mark 1:17).
- His choice of us predates any decision we have taken to be with Him. He chooses us not because we have proved ourselves already nor because we are in any way impressive (Mark 2:13-17).
- Friendship implies intimacy, trust, affection and loyalty. We are not merely slaves, employees or associates. Rather we are let into the deepest secrets of the heart of Jesus. Jesus has poured out His love upon us and longs us to experience it (John 15:9). He now calls us friends.
- Following implies imitating. Discipleship is not a leisure activity. Christian service including leadership is not like any other voluntary service, it involves loving others in a sacrificial and preferential way (John 15:12-13).
- Fruitfulness is very different from success, and nowhere are we called to be successful. There is an expectation that all disciples will be fruitful (John 15:8). Fruitfulness depends upon our remaining in the Vine. He is the only one who can ultimately produce fruit. This is completely liberating (cf. 2 Corinthians 4:1,7,16). Fruitfulness has far more to do with growth in our character than with growth in our effectiveness in serving/leading. Character is shaped through our loving obedience. Obedience is doing what Jesus told us to do. However, we are not to choose character over spiritual power — together they reveal the way.
- We must not be unsettled by the experience of hardship, difficulty or, indeed, outright opposition. Jesus was able to endure suffering and, indeed, to pray for those who executed Him precisely because of His confidence in His calling, identity and destiny. Nothing will shake us if we are properly rooted in our sense of who Jesus is and who we are in Him (2 Corinthians 4:16).
- In which cycle do you live most of the time? Score yourself on the scale below where 1 is entirely in the grief cycle and 10 is entirely in the cycle of grace.
Grief 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 Grace
- Are you aware of any significant influences, events or experiences which tend to push you into the Cycle of Grief? e.g. values you imbibed at a formative time in life, painful experiences which shaped you negatively.
- Spend time meditating on John 15:1-20. Allow God to speak to you through it and note down what He says. Allow His light to penetrate the recesses of your life.
- Read the story of Gideon in Judges 6-7. What does this teach us about the nature of God's call, and the way in which the experience of being called by God enables us to be equipped and changed?