Stages of Faith: Stage Three

Come and Be with Me

After “Come and See,” and “Come and Follow Me,” Jesus gives a third invitation: “Come and Be with Me.” This appears in Mark 3:14: “He appointed twelve that they might be with him” .

How is this stage different from the previous? Obviously the disciples are still following Jesus. But this stage is more about “being” than “doing.” Jesus did not call His disciples merely to carry out His instructions; He called them share meals with Him, sit with Him, talk with Him, be with Him. Ultimately He calls them His friends. I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master’s business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you” (John 15:15).

In Stage 3, our faith becomes less activity-focused and more intimacy-focused. We may even pull back from serving in the church and in ministry to make more space in our lives for time with God. We learn about the value of rest and keeping the Sabbath.

It is important to note that Stage 3 does not have to begin after time at The Wall ends. They most likely will overlap, as the struggle over The Wall results in greater depths of intimacy. In fact, the pain and growth experienced through the The Wall may be exactly what leads us into Stage 3. By this point, we know that we cannot overcome anything in our own strength. Great things come only when we are weak and rest in Christ, letting His strength work through us. 

From Stage 3, we need to grow toward complete surrender and sacrifice to God. We are enjoying intimacy with Him, but often because it makes us feel better. The focus is still on self.

A church leader can help disciples in Stage 3 move beyond this focus on self by teaching them to regularly practice listening to God in their times of intimacy with Him. If people are listening, God will start calling them to sacrifice.

But don’t rush anyone through Stage 3. The complete verse in Mark 3:14 says, “He appointed the twelve that they might be with him and that he might send them out to preach.” The being comes before the sending. People in Stage 3 will begin to desire growth on their own, because as long as they are self-centered, their intimacy with God will reach a plateau. That is when you can paint a vision for what is next  – an inside-out turn from self to God. Our intimacy can begin to mirror Jesus’ intimacy with the Father displayed so deeply through His prayer in Gethsemane:

​I pray . . . that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me. I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one – I in them and you in me – so that they may be brought to complete unity . . . Father, I want those you have given me to be with me where I am, and to see my glory, the glory you have given me because you loved me before the creation of the world.”

John 17:20-24

​You can see the intensity of Jesus’ desire for us to have the intimacy with Him that He enjoys with the Father. Remember, you should never tell a person that they need to be “better” or that where they are in their walk is not good enough. Rather, just as Jesus did, you as a church leader are inspiring them and clarifying for them how to more deeply enjoy their relationship with their amazing Savior.

Most importantly, you must be walking this walk yourself. If you are going to challenge other people to listen to God and start sacrificing for Him, you should be doing the same. Of course, you will not be perfect, and your own walk through the stages is allowed to waver and make circles just like anyone else’s. But let your inspiration be through example more than through words. Paint a vision of an intimate, surrendered walk with God by being that vision. As Paul said to the church he led in Corinth, “Follow my example, as I follow the example of Christ” (1 Cor. 11:1). After all, example is the most powerful teaching you can give.


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