The Power of Holy Discontent (aka Disruptive Grace)

June 19, 2019

Acts 3:11-13a (in context)

While the man held on to Peter and John, all the people were astonished and came running to them in the place called Solomon’s Colonnade.When Peter saw this, he said to them: “Fellow Israelites, why does this surprise you? Why do you stare at us as if by our own power or godliness we had made this man walk? The God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, the God of our fathers, has glorified his servant Jesus.


In this unfolding story of the Movement we are being given glimpses of real Christianity. We are seeing what it looks like when people go all-in. Their lives take on the supernatural character of profound love for God and other people. Jesus told us this would be the case with words like these:

Very truly I tell you, whoever believes in me will do the works I have been doing, and they will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father. And I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son. You may ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it. (John 14:12-14)

I don’t know about you, but years ago, when I started really reading those words, I began asking hard questions of God and of myself. Questions like, “This is either not true or I am just not getting it.” And because I believed it was true, I came to accept the reality that I was not getting it. Something was missing. Through this process, the Holy Spirit sowed the seeds of a holy discontent deep in the pit of my soul. As those seeds grew, I came to the painful and yet beautiful conviction that I didn’t lack faith. I lacked love. I call this process “Disruptive Grace.” Here’s how it works.

Through this gift of self-knowledge, the Holy Spirit led me to a place of holy brokenness before God and others. I began to understand and trust God’s love for me like I hadn’t before. This led to a loosening of my grip on my life and onward to a real offering myself to God in love. Holy brokenness is simply the deconstruction of and the letting go of the identity, value, and power base we try to build for ourselves apart from Jesus. And holy brokenness leads to holy love.

Christian discipleship is simply the process of becoming a real Christian, a person whose identity and value are anchored exclusively in the love of God through Jesus Christ. Taking it a step further, a real Christian is nothing more or less than a real person. And a real person is nothing more or less than someone whose life demonstrates the ever-increasing reality of the love of God for other people. And this, my friends, is the only true power there is. [Full Stop.]

When we read the story of the Movement with ever increasing depth, we come to realize that the power of God is the love of God. That’s what seized the lives of these early Apostles. Listen to Paul in his first letter to the church at Corinth:

For I resolved to know nothing while I was with you except Jesus Christ and him crucified. I came to you in weakness with great fear and trembling. My message and my preaching were not with wise and persuasive words, but with a demonstration of the Spirit’s power, so that your faith might not rest on human wisdom, but on God’s power. (1 Corinthians 2:2-5)

Hear him again in his second letter to the same church:

But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us. (2 Corinthians 4:7.)

Go back and scan the text at the top. This is exactly what Peter was saying that day. This is the story of the gate called Beautiful; then and now.




Have you come to a place of holy discontent with yourself, especially as it relates to your capacity to love like God loves? Where does that show up in your life?

For the Awakening,
J.D. Walt

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WHAT IS THIS? Wake-Up Call is a daily encouragement to shake off the slumber of our busy lives and turn our eyes toward Jesus. Each morning our community gathers around a Scripture, a reflection, a prayer, and a few short questions, inviting us to reorient our lives around the love of Jesus that transforms our hearts, homes, churches, and cities.

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