I was able to teach the first post-encounter lesson tonight for the first time in a while. I really enjoyed it. I forget how much I really enjoy teaching and helping people find a way for truth to meet its home in practical application. The first lesson in Post Encounter is called “Strong in Freedom.” In it, I tried to make very practical some ways that, through disciplines, we an not merely have a mountain-top experience, but live a mountain-top way of life.
I shared four “D’s” of Surrender. The key to Freedom and staying in it, is of course, Surrender. We typically think of surrender as the beginning of enslavement. But where God is concerned the opposite is true. Surrender to God equals freedom.
But how does one surrender? How does one surrender to God?
It begins with an “encounter” moment. Simply put, an encounter moment is any time at which a person meets some element or portion (whether large or small) of God’s truth that challenges them to change… to start something or to stop something. In that moment God has given the individual direction. That direction can come straight from God’s word (i.e. Scripture reading), or it can come through the influence of a believer or another avenue. The point is… it is God’s truth and it is challenging change. This is Direction…the first thing to which we must surrender in order to keep moving toward greater freedom.
Once we are surrendered to God’s direction, or leading, we must be surrendered to God’s discipline. There are many spiritual disciplines, but I like to use the acronym RPMs to describe what I see as four fundamental or foundational spiritual disciplines.
MEET (with other believers)
SERVE (in the new way of the Spirit)
The great thing about these disciplines is that they can be practiced almost at any time by any believer. In reading Scripture, praying to God regularly, staying encouraged by other believers and serving others in some capacity, we find ourselves growing stronger in our personal freedoms.
Third, we must be surrendered to the beauty and balance of mutual domestic support in the realm of spirituality. I believe that God created the family as the most basic discipleship group. Before there was a tribe, a nation, a people… there was a family. God made families to function in a way that would pass faith on from generation to generation. It began with Adam and continues on today. Everyone is born to a family, whether they are ever able to enjoy that blessing or not… we all have parents. Within this familial institution, men and women both must surrender to the need to be mutually submissive to and supportive of one another. We pray for each other, we do life together, we train up children together… it is fundamental training grounds as even Paul attests in his letters to Timothy and Titus. For a man to serve as an elder in the church he must prove himself capable of making disciples by having believing children.
Fourth, we must be surrendered to other people in the form of a small (or relatively small) accountability group. As iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpents another. A chord of three strands is not easily broken. We are to bear one another’s burdens. So many passages of Scripture indicate that faith is a relational endeavor. If we fail to submit ourselves to others for accountability, we become isolated, proud, and then comes the fall. By staying accountable to other believers, we stay flexible in the way we walk from day to day. In this behavior, we allow ourselves to be shaped and molded by the Holy Spirit as he works on us through the lives of other people.
These four things keep us surrendered… And staying surrendered means staying free in Christ!