“Seems to me,” I said to Stan one morning while we waited for Ricky to bring our breakfast, “that you talk an awfully lot about discipleship. It’s almost like you see discipleship as the core of what it means to be a Christian.”
“If it seems that way,” Stan replied, “it’s because that’s the way I see it. I do see it as the core of what it means to be a Christian, and I think that’s what Jesus was talking about when He set forth what we call ‘The Great Commission’.”
“How’s that?” I asked.
“Jesus said to go and make disciples,” Stan replied. “He didn’t say to go and make converts because I think that was a given. People can’t be disciples until they are Christians, so Jesus focused on discipleship, knowing that the discipline of being a disciple is to follow becoming a Christian.”
“Discipline of being a disciple?”
“Yeah,” Stan said. “That’s what I think Jesus was talking about. Seems to me that the apostle Paul wrote the same thing to Timothy when Paul told him to be disciplined for for the purpose of godliness.”
“So,” I responded, “there’s some sort of connection between discipline, discipleship, and godliness?”
“More than ‘some sort’ of connection,” Stan said. “I think that’s what it’s all about. Discipleship doesn’t just happen. It takes discipline.”
“Like discipline in denying self, discipline in taking up what God has for us to take up, and discipline in following?” I said. “Is that it?”
“That’s it,” Stan replied with a smile. “Remember it doesn’t just happen; it takes discipline to be a disciple.”
Bible verses to consider:
On the other hand, discipline yourself for the purpose of godliness; for bodily discipline is only of little profit, but godliness is profitable for all things, since it holds promise for the present life and also for the life to come. 1 Timothy 4:7-8.
And He was saying to them all, “If anyone wishes to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow Me. Luke 9:23.
If any one wishes to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me. For whoever wishes to save his life shall lose it; but whoever loses his life for My sake shall find it. Matthew 15:24-25.
Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age. Matthew 28:19-20.
Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. James 4:8.
Prayer: Thank you, Father, for your provision of life eternally with you through the finished work of Jesus on the cross. Thank you, too, that the assurance of life eternally with you when our time here is completed is to be followed by being a disciple of Christ. I confess that too often I do not pursue being the disciple you intend because I choose to do what I want to be and do apart from you. Please forgive that foolish approach to being yours. And please, Father, help me to follow every step of your lead so I am the disciple you intend for me to be for as long as you keep me here. Thank you I can and do bring these prayers before you in the name of the One I am to follow. Amen.
Think on this: Have you accepted God’s free and gracious gift of life eternally with Him when it’s time for you to step into eternity? If no, why? If you do have the assurance of salvation and redemption, how are you doing with being a disciple? Do you think that being a Christian automatically makes you a disciple? Why or why not? If you sense a need for some changes in your discipleship, how are those changes going to happen? Is that what you want? Why or why not?
S. Tory Teller’s book, Waiting for the Train: Biblical Food for Growing before Going, is all about discipleship, what it means to be a Christian, and how to live the life we have been given. It’s a great tool available at amazon.com and www.s-toryteller.com