This is an encouraging and practical article on how to disciple — provide direction and guidance — to someone struggling with anxiety and depression. Since most of us have faced these struggles ourselves, or know someone who is close to them with depression and anxiety, this piece describes four steps to wholeness and growth in Christ. And these steps are described from both the discipler’s point of view as well as the disciple’s. From MentalHealthGraceAlliance.org…………..
Spoiler Alert!: The bridge is meditation. This article explains why there must be a fusion of understanding the teachings of Scripture and an active and transforming prayer life. The rational and the relational. From The Gospel Coalition…………………..
Being with Jesus
But if I am to be someone’s apprentice, there is one absolutely essential condition. I must be with that person. This is true of the student-teacher relationship in all generality. And it is precisely what it meant to follow Jesus when he was here in human form. To follow him meant, in the first place, to be with him.
If I am Jesus’ disciple that means I am with him to learn from him how to be like him. To take cases from ordinary life, a child learning to multiply and divide numbers is an apprentice to its teacher. Children are with their teachers, learning from them how to be like them in a certain respect—similarly for a student of the piano or voice, of the Spanish language, of tennis, and so forth. The “being-with,” by watching and by hearing, is an absolute necessity. . . .
God as personality is not a physical reality that everyone must see whether they want to or not. He can, of course, make himself present to the human mind in any way he chooses. But—for good reasons rooted deeply in the nature of the person and of personal relationships—his preferred way is to speak, to communicate: thus the absolute centrality of scripture to our discipleship. And this, among other things, is the reason why an extensive use of solitude and silence is so basic for growth of the human spirit, for they form an appropriate context for listening and speaking to God.
From The Divine Conspiracy: Rediscovering Our Hidden Life in God. Copyright © 1997 by Dallas Willard. All rights reserved. Used with permission of HarperCollins Publishers.
“Spiritual formation in Christ is the process through which disciples or apprentices of Jesus take on the qualities or characteristics of Christ himself, in every essential dimension of human personality. The overall orientation of their will, the kinds of thoughts and feelings that occupy them, the “automatic” inclinations and “readinesses” of their body in action, the prevailing posture of their relations toward others, and the harmonious wholeness of their soul—these all, through the formative processes undergone by his disciples, increasingly come to resemble the personal dimensions of their master. ‘A pupil is not above his teacher,’ Jesus said, ‘but everyone, after he has been fully trained, will be like his teacher’ (Luke 6:40).”
Where there is a will, there is a way
In the spiritual life, it is actually true that “where there is a will there is a way.” This is true because God is involved and makes his help available to those who seek it. On the other hand, where there is no will (firm intentions based on clear vision) there is no way. People who do not intend to be inwardly transformed, so that obedience to Christ “comes naturally,” will not be transformed. God will not pick us up and throw us into transformed kingdom living, into “holiness,” against our will.
From Renewing the Christian Mind: Essays, Interviews, and Talks. Copyright © 2016 by Willard Family Trust. All rights reserved. Used with permission of HarperCollins Publishers.