CULTIVATING HEARTS | BY PRACTICING THE WAY OF JESUS | TOGETHER
We must learn to curate our heart, stewarding our loves. Learning to reorient and cultivate one’s loves and desires is our deepest spiritual formation. The biblical prophet Ezekiel looked forward to a day when God would “give you a new heart, and a new spirit (Ezek. 36:26).” When one comes to Jesus they experience a deep spiritual renewal in which they are given a new heart with new desires to want the things of God. With these new desires, we must then learn to form new habits to match with our new heart’s desires. We believe every person needs an inside-out transformation that starts with the heart and leads to new habits.
…by practicing the way of Jesus
Jesus invites us to form new habits with our new hearts by intentionally practicing his ways. Jesus would tell his disciples, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life (Jn. 14:6).” This is significant because the word “the way” here is the word for a highway, road or the pathway for a traveler. Jesus is not just inviting his followers to merely a one-time decision to follow him but a process and journey of discovering himself over an eternity. And he tells his followers that because of this way his followers will “do the works I do; and greater works than these he will do (Jn. 14:12).” Jesus expected his followers to practice his ways and even do greater things them him. This was accomplished not by merely learning the right set of spiritual truths or following a list of do’s and don’ts but an entirely new way of life-based on new hearts and habits through practicing the way of Jesus.
The cultivation of hearts and habits to Jesus’ ways was always in the context of active apprenticeship in community.
Jesus told his followers, “For I have given you an example, that you should do just as I have done to you (Jn. 13:15).” Jesus’ disciples always had an example and model of what practicing “the way” looked like, found in the person of Jesus. We believe each person on their spiritual journey needs to become an apprentice to Jesus in the context of local communities of faith where we can be spurred on to grow and become more like Jesus. Ultimately through the cultivation of new hearts and new habits by practicing Jesus’ ways we fulfill one of Jesus’ greatest proclamations, “By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another (Jn. 13:35).”