We have been talking about the disciple’s hand. Since our mission has been to equip an army of fully devoted disciples, we had to understand what it means to be a disciple of Jesus Christ. God gave us a metaphor using the human hand to describe the basic attributes of a disciple.
The pointer finger represented the worship of God. We have a brand of worship we model and teach at the Vineyard. We want our worship to be enthusiastic, intimate and sincere. Together we lift up and exalt our God with songs directed to Him. We then go out and live life as an act of worship.
The middle finger, the longest finger on our hand represents “compassionate outreach”. We believe God wants to extend His Kingdom and as we share our lives with people, helping people around us that there is a God who loves them and has paid the ultimate price for their souls, doing so in a humble and compassionate way, we are fulfilling the Great Commission.
The ring finger, the one on which I wear my wedding band, represents “hands on, Spirit led ministry”. We want to be followers of Jesus, ready at any time to ask the most profound question when we feel it necessary. The question is, “Can I pray for you now?” Jesus said in the gospels that we will lay hands on the sick and they will recover. When your conversation with another person turns to a need in their life, ask them if you can pray for them. Not only are you involving the God of heaven and earth in the need of this person, you are clearly expressing your faith in Jesus. I am surprised by how many people who have attended church for years have never prayed out loud. There is a slight risk in praying for people but it has been my experience that once you have prayed for them, there is a release of gratitude and a feeling of closeness.
I want to talk about the little finger. It’s the finger small enough to fit into your ear. We say that the little finger represents “grace filled obedience to the Word of God”.
As you read your Bible and especially the letters written to the churches called the epistles, you will see imperative commands given to Christians by the inspiration of the Holy Spirit. In Romans 12, we are told to overcome evil with good. Chapter 13 tells us to respect authority. Chapter 14 exhorts us to avoid criticism of other people while chapter 15 tells us to assist those who are weaker in the faith.
At the beginning of each epistle, the greatness of Christ and the new nature we have as believers is established. Nearly every epistle answers the question of who Christ is and who and what we are in Christ. These are called indicatives. Since we are “in Christ” and therefore “new creations”, every imperative command is more a promise than a command. Though we have to exert energy and exercise our free will, obedience to the Word of God is a part of our new nature as a Christian.
Since we are in Christ and Christ is in us, we have a “want to” when it comes to obeying God’s Word and a sorrow when we fail to obey God’s Word. There is joy in obeying God’s Word because we are not doing so to keep God happy or to somehow maintain our relationship with Christ. God already approves of us. Even more, He loves us and His imperative commands reveal to us what we are capable of as we live by the power and presence of the Holy Spirit as God’s sons and daughters.
Do you know that through Christ, you as a husband are capable of loving your wife as Christ loves His church? Do you know that as a wife, you are capable because of your new nature to submit to your husband as unto the Lord? The fact is, what Jesus commands are not things we have to do but rather things we get to do through His strength within.
What an indescribable privilege to be a follower, a disciple of Christ.