Edward F. Lundwall, Jr.
Why The Disciple's Self Concept Motivates Achievement
1. Becoming a Disciple Is God's Will.
“Then said Jesus to those Jews which believed on him, If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed;” John 8:31
While there are many good reasons for other self concepts, the disciple's self concept has the compelling force of being God's will. When accepted as a no option conviction, no other self concept has a greater priority. Consequently, a functioning disciple's self concept thrusts the disciple through every door the Lord opens.
2. A Ruling Self Concept
In actuality, people have many self concepts. They have them in regard to their education, occupation, family, sexuality, social status, etc. Since self concepts are roles in their life contexts, they can be contradictory one to another. It has often been observed that many live one way in Church and quite another in their business, school or social circles. These roles can to be separate compartments for motivation and conduct, each having its own expectations: "When in Rome, do as the Romans do!"
Since consistency has the virtue of generating trust with those we must relate to, the question must be asked: What can create consistency? What can keep a person from temporary conformity, "going with the flow?" Or being as a leaf in the wind, responding to whatever circumstances may be stronger. The answer comes from the authority that a person responds to, thereby establishing a self concept. If a person has only the authority of whatever circumstance he is in, then the role he plays will vary according to the circumstance. If the authority extends over many circumstances, that is how far the directing self concept will go, and no farther.
When a person receives a God given self concept, he will be as consistent as long as he keeps asking: "What must I do to be as God wants me?" The disciple's self concept goes one step further, it calls for constant study to develop with the help of God given teachers. So accepting the Christian disciple's self concept as God’s command will continually motivate maturing the regenerated life God gives (Matt 10:38, 39; John 8:31–36). If the disciple accepts the fact of the Lord as being present everywhere, and the supreme authority, then his disciple’s self concept rules over every other. Then the disciple’s self concept becomes a ruling self concept.
3. Fulfillment Comes From God's Resources And The Disciple's Stewardship
So, the power to become a progressing disciple comes by relying upon the power of God. I can answer the question: "Who am I?" with: "I am a disciple by the power of God!" With this foundational perspective, the disciple can have confidence to respond to all that God has provided to promote spiritual growth, especially the disciple's life style.
He that hath my commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that loveth me: and he that loveth me shall be loved of my Father, and I will love him, and will manifest myself to him. John 14:21
a. The Resource of the Holy Spirit
“. . we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord.” 2 Corinthians 3:18
This verse specifically speaks of the ministry of the Holy Spirit as the effectual resource for making the character change of making us bear the image and likeness of Christ (Rom 8:28, 29). The condition is that the believer “with open face” (a full open mindedness) to “behold . . . the glory (obvious worthiness) of the Lord. . .” This in turn leads to how does he behold God’s glory?
Since the Lord commanded discipling as His method of engendering His revelation into believers (Matt 28:18–20), His disciple can expect the enabling power of the Holy Spirit. For His Spirit effects the changes acted upon by obedience of faith (Rom 1:5).
In the Lord Jesus’ promise of the gift of the Holy Spirit, He said: “But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you.” (John 14:26) While we like to think of His teaching ministry as some thing personal in our spirit’s functions of communion, conscience and intuition, yet in God’s ways and the unity of the Body of Christ works through the spiritually gifted (Eph 4:11–16). These people disciple the immature not only by the knowledge that they have learned, but by the character they model (Heb 5:12; 13:7, 17).
Related reading: The Disciple's Self Concept, Part 1; The Disciple's Self Concept, Part 2; How an Adopted Self Concept Functions