The Five-Fold Path (the Way of the Lord) of Ancient Hebrew Spirituality can be summarized in the following manner (this is a simplified overview):
There is One Allegiance to be made – to Jesus (the King) [The call to highest commitment]
- Underlying Principle: in reality it is possible to serve only one master, but whomever you serve is your master.
- There is ONE non-negotiable foundation for living true life in God. We each must renounce and repudiate every other false claimant for the role God alone is qualified to play in our lives. He must be our absolute sovereign Lord and Master. Switching our allegiance to any other “lord,” no matter how subtle or culturally acceptable it may seem, is a substitution of true life for empty promises and dehumanization.
There are Two Purposes for our lives to be fulfilled [The destiny we are released to pursue]
- People find their true destiny in the purpose God gives to our lives.
- Underlying Principle: “Being” is the wellspring of “Doing!” Both are essential – one is insufficient without the other. Both serve to increase the power of the other through synergy.
- Purpose One: To Live the Life
True life in God is not an after-death experience to be looked forward to in Heaven. It is the growing, emerging and developing reality of our lives as we learn to walk in the Way of the Lord by the power of the Holy Spirit as Jesus did.
- Purpose Two: To Fulfill the Mission
Living true life in God is not meaningless but full of purpose. This planet is not a waiting room where we are held until our “mansion in Heaven” is finished and ready for occupancy. It is the field of battle and the workshop for our vocation as children of God. We each have crucial assignments to accomplish during our lives.
There are Three Roles for each of us to play well in our lives [Who we are as children of God]
- Underlying Principle: As those made in the image of God, true life is lived in a Trinitarian-orientation. In a sense its all one life, but in another these are three distinct parts of our complex experience of life. Each one requires time, energy and attention. None can be omitted or neglected without diminishing the whole!
- Role One: We are worshippers of God (orientation toward God)
The true and correct orientation of our lives is to be pointed directly and faithfully at the great God and awesome Lord of all Creation. He is the majestic King, full of glory and power and honor. To turn our attention, affection and loyalty any other direction is idolatry. It is also dysfunctional and counterproductive to living true life.
- Role Two: We are members of the Body (orientation toward others)
While we can speak intelligibly of “I” and “me,” true life in God must also be lived as “we!” By God’s design we are created by and for community. We will only find our life in God fully expressed and experienced in relationships with other members of Jesus’ body.
- Role Three: We are disciples-doers of the Word (orientation toward self)
Those who become followers and disciples of Jesus discover that true life is truly lived out in actual experience. It is not something to be merely thought about and believed. Jesus is the pattern and model for those who enter into true life in God. He showed us that we could be engaged in a dynamic lifestyle of doing, and not just knowing, the will and purposes of God in our lives.
There are Four Guiding Beliefs [Accurate ways of seeing reality]
- Underlying Principle: These are governing ideas that organize our experiences and help us make sense of the confusing complexities of the world around us. They enable us to see what we would otherwise be unable to comprehend (such as the activity of God and the things of the Kingdom).
- Guiding Belief 1: The Supremacy of the Kingdom of God
The prevailing worldview(s) of our culture minimize and marginalize the God of the bible. They see Him as irrelevant to the issues and concerns of real life.
God, however, really did create all that is around us. He really does have absolute authority over everything. He is now actively engaged, and always has been, in His world and in the affairs of humanity.
- Guiding Belief 2: The Primacy of Grace
Nothing that God has ever, is now or ever will do is based upon His obligation to anyone else. He acts and speaks out of the motivation of His own love and wisdom. Everything we receive from Him in the living of True Life is simply His grace. We act and speak in response to His grace, not to merit it.
- Guiding Belief 3: The Sufficiency of the Power of the Holy Spirit
We may be wise and powerful or resourceful and inventive. Those things are never enough. The power we must draw upon to live the life and fulfill the mission is the power of Almighty God himself. We were designed to draw upon His power as the source of our living and working. We were never meant to depend upon the meager residue left in us after rebellion cut us off from Him.
- Guiding Belief 4: The Transforming Path of the Cross
Jesus’ death, burial and resurrection are the paradigm for the experience of the true life in God. In this pattern, the Holy Spirit works patiently with us in the experiences of our lives. He draws us through the dying we must do to the old ways so that we may enter into the newness of the Way of the Lord. The trials, difficulties and sufferings of our human lives are not evidences of the failure of the Gospel. Often these are the very places that God is most at work transforming us back into the image of God.
There are Five Daily Practices to be mastered and integrated into the routines and pattern of normal living [Skills in which every believer needs to be proficient]
- Underlying Principle: True life is lived from the inside out.
What are these skills and what purpose does God have in mind for our disciplined, regular practice of them? They are vehicles of our obedience to Him (i.e., where the ‘rubber meets the road’ in our Christian lives). They are classrooms for our education in the knowledge of God and our selves and all things of the Kingdom; we learn in the act of ‘doing.’ They are operating rooms for our healing and transformation; this is where the work of God on us mostly takes place. They are the tools of our trade as we co-labor with Christ in the work of His Kingdom.
- Daily Practice #1: Intimacy with God (staying close to God)
This is the ability to practice the presence of God. It involves the habits of repeatedly and frequently turning one’s heart and mind toward God in worship, adoration, thanksgiving, and through mini-mediations and reflection focused on His nature, His character and His ways.
- Daily Practice #2: Repentance (keeping your relationship with God well-maintained and healthy)
This is the ability and the habit of quickly turning to God in confession and repentance through day. As we become aware of thoughts, attitudes and actions that are sinful and contrary to the Way of the Lord as exemplified by Jesus, we can turn to Him in repentance.
- Daily Practice #3: Prayer (cultivating dependence, faith and trust in God)
This is the ability and habit of carrying on a conversation with God about the large and small issues, needs, and experiences of life.
- Daily Practice #4: The Word of God (continually renewing your mind by reviewing life from the perspective of the Kingdom of God)
This is the ability and discipline to look and listen for the mind and will of God through the habit of reading, listening to or studying the Bible.
- Daily Practice #5: Works (playing an active role as a participant, not a mere observer, in the ongoing mission of the Jesus)
This is the ability to apply the Word of God to daily behaviors and decisions, as well as to speak and act at the initiation of the Holy Spirit to serve and minister to other people.