Stages of Faith: ​

Remain​ in Me

After “Come and See,” “Come and Follow Me,” “Overcome with Me,” and “Be with Me,” Jesus gives His final invitation: “Remain in Me.” This comes from John 15:4:  “Remain in me, as I also remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me.”

This is the stage of complete surrender. Disciples in Stage 4 have no dependence on themselves – they rely entirely on God. Before Stage 4, people tend to go to God when they need things. In Stage 4, disciples know they always need God. As Acts 17:28 says, In him we live and move and have our being.” When disciples receive the invitation “Remain in Me,” they release lists and plans, instead tuning into what God is already doing and simply doing it with Him. Jesus paints a picture of this in Matthew 11:28-29: “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.” By releasing the burdens of their own activities and plans and resting in Christ, disciples take on His yoke, partnering with His plans instead and doing them through His power.

Churches can fall into the trap of thinking that people in this stage don’t need anything. But no one ever matures out of needing the church. Stage 4 disciples still need leaders to help them continue in their walk, even if they themselves may also be leaders.

First, it is important to help people in Stage 4 realize they have not “arrived.” Discipleship is a lifelong journey, and Stage 4 does not have an end point. As C.S. Lewis puts it, we can always move “further up and further in.” The challenge in Stage 4 is to grow toward a complete putting-to-death of the ego – to become more sacrificing and less demanding. Every arena of life should be surrendered to Christ as these disciples lay down their plans and open themselves to God’s calling for them.

To continue this journey further up and further in, these disciples need a continual desire for more. The best way to feed this desire is through daily listening to God. If they keep listening, God will keep calling them to more. Classical spiritual disciplines such as the listening prayer, centering prayer, and the Examen can be a excellent tools for disciples seeking to listen to God better. The Ignatian meditation can also help to keep daily Scripture reading from growing stale.

Isolation presents a danger in Stage 4. Thus, small groups, mentoring relationships, and retreats with others are a key need for plugging these disciples into close-knit communities that seek spiritual direction of discernment of God’s voice together. Fellowshipping with others and being accountable to others will help shepherd disciples from getting off track as they try to discern God’s leading.

More than likely, disciples in Stage 4 are out feeding lambs, serving others, and making great sacrifices for Christ. But don’t forget they also need to be fed and served. If God Himself is a community of three, neither can any of us cease to be in community.

Follow us

© 2022 – Ascending Leaders – All rights reserved.


for Additional Scholarship

Your Cart

Cart is empty.