“Back in our old town before we moved here,” Stan began one morning, “I had a friend who came to faith and decided to be a disciple.”
“Great!” I replied. “The church needs disciples. That’s what Jesus said we are to do — make disciples.”
“You’re right,” Stan said, “but it didn’t work out so well for my friend.”
“Why? What happened?”
“It was more about what didn’t happen,” Stan replied.
“In what way?” I asked..
“Choosing to order blueberry pancakes for breakfast is not the same thing as eating them,” Stan said. “There’s a second choice involved. It was the same with my friend. He chose to be a disciple, but he didn’t make the follow-on choices in being a disciple.”
“Oh,” I replied. “Like he didn’t take the three steps that Jesus talked about. Is that it?”
“That’s it,” Stan said. “And it’s the same for me with every step of my faith walk. I can decide that I’m going to do, or not do, such-and-such, but merely deciding without corresponding action doesn’t get the job done.”
Continuing, he added, “People can decide they are going to be disciples, but unless they deny themselves, take up what God has for them to take up, and follow wherever, whenever, and however He leads, they will not be disciples. It simply does not happen by the mere act of making a decision.”
“The decision to be a disciple is just the first step,” I said, “that has to be followed by subsequent steps. Is that what you’re saying?”
“You got it, my friend,” Stan replied. “Merely choosing to be a disciple is not enough!”
Bible verses to consider:
Therefore, to one who knows the right thing to do, and does not do it, to him it is sin. James 4:17.
But what do you think? A man had two sons, and he came to the first and said, “Son, go work today in the vineyard.” And he answered and said, “I will, sir,” and he did not go. And he came to the second and said the same thing. But he answered and said, “I will not;” yet he afterward regretted it and went. Which of the two did the will of the father? Matthew 21:28-31.
And why do you call Me, “Lord, Lord,” and do not do what I say? Luke 6:46.
If you love Me, you will keep My commandments. John 14:15.,
Prayer: Thank you, Father, for carefully laying out what you require of me in order to be a disciple of Jesus. Thank you, too, for the truth that making a decision to be a disciple is not the same thing as doing what is required to be a disciple. I confess that too often I do not deny self, I do not take up what you have for me to take up, and I do not follow wherever, however, and whenever you have for me, even though I have said I will. You know, and I know, the reason for that is that I choose not to follow through with my decision. Please help me in following every step of your lead in being the disciple you intend, not just saying that I will be that disciple. Thank you I can and do bring these prayers before you in the name of Jesus. Amen.
Think on this: Have you decided to follow Jesus all the way to heaven in the sense of having the assurance of life eternally with God when it’s time? If no, why? That free and gracious gift is available to be accepted by all. If you do have the assurance of salvation, how are you doing with being a disciple on this side of eternity, not just saying you want to be a disciple? If you sense changes are needed to go beyond choosing to be to actually being, how are those changes going to happen? Is that what you want? Why or why not?