Discipleship, Part 1
Matthew 28:18-20 And Jesus came and spoke to them, saying, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Amen.
Luke 14:27 and 33 And whoever does not bear his cross and come after Me cannot be My disciple…. So likewise, whoever of you does not forsake all that he has cannot be My disciple.
When Jesus sent out his closest followers, it was not simply to get other people saved. It was to “go…and make disciples.” Disciples are not just believers. James says even the demons believe, and they tremble (2:19). We are called to do much more than believe.
Disciples have masters (in our case, Jesus Christ). Disciples are always in the process of training, always learning, always seeking to grow. They don’t have their own agendas, but seek the Lord’s agenda for them. They stay away from self-serving, self-promotion, and self-ambition.
Far too many “believers” do little more than that—believe. There is a two-fold problem with that. One, Jesus said to go out and make disciples, not simply get people to believe. Two, that means that the Holy Spirit present with us is leading us constantly into a state of discipleship. If we resist that leading and simply “kick back,” we are resisting God. All of God’s promises and gifts are in the context of His leading us down the discipleship path. Those promises and gifts don’t make sense if they are not seen and received from that perspective.
Do you act as if you have a master? That’s quite an antiquated concept to some, but can never be to us; it’s our reality. Are you always being trained? Or do you think that there is some kind of “arrival” point somewhere? Do you see small group meetings, teachings, reading, services and sermons as opportunities to grow? Do you know that you always need to be trained, no matter how much you have already learned and no matter how much you’ve acquired in the Spirit?
Do you have your own agenda for life—or even for small parts of it? Do you work to build your life, asking God to bless you along the way (or help you to make a decision when the options are fairly equal)? Or is your heart poised to hear the “voice of the Master”? Are you happy to hear the voice of the Lord, or do you tend to avoid it?
You were called to be a disciple. Your salvation experience was simply your entrance into the Kingdom. It was a starting point, not a stopping one. Yes, you have to die to yourself, but He promises that “whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake and the gospel’s will save it” (Mark 8:35). Find your real life by reckoning yourself a disciple, and you’ll find you’ll be tracking with His Spirit and moving in His power.
Prayer: Father, take me from where I am and help me to become more of a disciple. I recognize that this is my true identity as a Christian. I confess my fears and my selfishness. Forgive me, and lead me on.