March 10, 2023 — Discipleship: More than just a Wish?

“As you may remember,” Stan commented one morning as we waited for breakfast, “we’ve recently focused on some one-word aspects of what Jesus said about discipleship.”

“I do remember,” I replied. “First it was the word, ‘if’ as it concerns whether discipleship is optional. Then there was ‘anyone’ about whether discipleship is for all Christians, or just for some of them.”

[Note to reader: see the postings for March 6, 2023, “Discipleship: Jesus said,’if;’ Does that mean a choice?” and March 8, 2023, “Discipleship: Jesus said ‘Anyone’ — Does that include ‘Everyone?”]

“You’ve got it, my friend,” Stan said. “Thanks for listening and remembering.”

“Today,” he continued, “I have another one-word aspect of discipleship I’d like to focus on.”

“If we’re going to do this one word at a time,” I said with a laugh, “it’s going to take a long time!”

“Do you have something else you’d rather be doing?” Stan asked with a smile.

“I do not,” I replied. “What’s the next word?”

“Wishes,” Stan said.

“Wishes? What did Jesus say about wishes that has anything to do with discipleship?”

“That’s the word Luke used when he wrote what Jesus said,” Stan replied. “Jesus said, ‘If anyone wishes’ to follow Him, they have to do such-and-such.  It seems to me that even though Jesus used the word, ‘wishes,’ He was telling the people that it has to be more than just a wish.”

“More than just a wish,” I repeated. “In what way?”

“It’s just like anything else,” Stan replied.  “Choices are involved. If I wish that I didn’t weigh so much, I can’t just wish away those extra pounds. I have to do something about them. Or if I wish I wasn’t so tired, I have to do something like get more rest!”

“Oh,” I said. “And if people want to be disciples, they have to do more than just wish they were disciples. Is that it?”

“It sure seems that way to me,” Stan replied. “And I think Jesus laid out what that looks like when He spoke about the three steps that are to come after, ‘If anyone wishes,’ so that the wish becomes something more than just a wish.”


Bible verses to consider:

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.

Then Jesus said to His disciples, “If any one wishes to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me.” Matthew 16:24.

And He summoned the multitude with the disciples, and said to them, “If anyone wishes to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me.” Mark 8:34.

Prayer: Thank you, Father, for your provision of salvation and redemption through the cross of Jesus. Thank you, too, for the provision of discipleship that comes after acceptance of your free and gracious provision of the cross. I confess that too often I don’t do more than just wish I was a disciple pursuing an ever-deeper relationship with you. Please forgive the foolishness of just wishing rather than doing what’s necessary to be the disciple you intend. Help me to follow every step of your lead in truly denying myself, truly taking up what you have for me to take up, and truly following, just as you intend. Thank you that I can and do bring these prayers before you in the name of Jesus. Amen.

Think on this: Have you accepted God’s free and gracious gift of life eternally with Him so you can be a disciple while He keeps you here? If no, why? What’s in the way? If you are a Christian with the assurance of salvation and redemption, are you pursuing discipleship or just wishing you were a disciple? If you sense the need for change in going beyond merely wishing, how is that going to happen? Is that what you want? Why or why not?

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