Tuesday, April 28, 2015
The Marks of a Disciple
In the next few weeks I am going to write about what it takes to be a devout, passionate and committed follower of Jesus, what it means to be a disciple. A disciple starts with following! Believers follow. It is not enough just to believe, as enticing as the sufficiency of believing sounds. Many times Jesus alluded to this. For example when he said, “Not everyone who says to me, 'Lord, Lord,' shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of my Father.” Note the verb “does”. There is an action required alongside belief. As James said, ‘faith without action is dead” In the parable of the hungry, and imprisoned and naked, Jesus made it clear there was something we needed to “do”. Romans 2:6-7 and Revelation 20:12-13 both suggest how important it is what we do. Out actions (works) don’t save us, as we know we are saved by grace through faith, but what we do is still nonetheless a vital part of the faith equation. I often think that the narrow gate to eternal life has very little to do with our morality or our devotion (am I good enough?) but everything to do with how we follow and what we do. Could it be that few walk the path of sacrificial humble following? Believers follow. This is the start of becoming a disciple of Jesus. Read the gospels and you will find Jesus saying over and over again, “Follow me”. Believe in Jesus, yes of course, but the imperative is to follow. There is an action, a lifestyle, a giving, a serving, a compassion, a sacrifice that makes us disciples. I once heard someone say how difficult it was to follow Jesus, that Jesus asks too many difficult things of us, things beyond our understanding and capability. True, but this person went on to say when you start out following Jesus don’t worry too much about the difficult demands he makes, and the things you don’t really understand, start following the simpler and easier things to understand. They abound! And then tackle following the more difficult and challenging of Jesus commands. This is where discipleship starts.