The truth of God is undefiled and unchangeable, and God has chosen to use His truth to bring transformation to His people. By His truth we were saved and by His truth we are made holy and walk in freedom. Quite simply, transformation does not occur apart from the truth of God.
In relation to transformation, there are three important lenses from which leaders see truth, three important lenses that contribute to transformation. The truth does not change as we look at it through different lenses or from different angles, rather we see a clearer understanding of God’s truth.
The Gospel writers wrote four different accounts about the same life of the living Truth—Jesus. These four Gospels do not contradict one another in the slightest; rather they enhance our understanding of Jesus.
The most foundational lens is the gospel. The gospel is for believers, and the gospel is sufficient not only for justification but also for sanctification. People are transformed as they encounter the gospel again and again. Leaders must view discipleship through the lens of the gospel and help their people constantly preach the gospel to themselves.
The second lens is the discipline lens; discipleship must also be viewed through the lens of discipline. The Scripture challenges believers to pursue God, to train themselves for godliness. Coupled with an accurate understanding of the gospel and the new identity, spiritual disciplines are essential for transformation.
The third lens is the new identity of believers. As people realize the ramifications of the gospel in their lives—the reality that they have a new identity—they are empowered by the truth of their new character to live worthy of their new calling. Leaders must help people embrace the truth of their new identity.
In the movie National Treasure, the heroes and the villains are searching for a treasure hidden somewhere in the United States. All of the clues are disguised on historical artifacts and in national monuments. At one point in the movie, they discover that a clue was written on the back of the Declaration of Independence. However, having been written in special ink, they can only see it properly with one special pair of eyeglasses. The glasses have three different-colored lenses that, when used in the right order, allows the viewer to read the message. It is similar to our discipleship; we need all of the lenses to see the truth with clarity.
I encourage you to see the whole picture of transformation, to see discipleship through all three lenses of truth. If you fail to view discipleship through all three lenses, you and the people you serve will not see the totality of transformation. Your people must first and constantly live in the truth of the gospel.
Adapted from Transformational Discipleship (B&H Publishing Group, 2012)