Monday, March 4, 2013

30 Days With Wesley: Discipleship Is Not An Option

Each morning prayer time from "30 Days With Wesley" has included in it an "optional" Scripture reading.  Each of the five days so far I have "exercised my option" to read those Scriptures.

I shouldn't be surprised that the 'optional' Scriptures have been the ones that have made the most impact on me and have kept me thinking and digging deeper to understand more about how I need to be living, right now.

There are a good many churches and Christians who view discipleship as "optional" for being a "Christian."  For them, the "Christian" is the one who has said a "sinner's prayer" and any one point in their life, for any reason, in any emotional state, and is therefore "saved" with a guaranteed reservation in Heaven, eternally.  Anything remotely resembling discipleship is for those select few who have the initiative and drive to go further, but it really isn't necessary, since the whole salvation/Heaven thing is a done deal.


I don't want to be harsh on this point, but, I think I probably am:  What Bible are they reading?  Which Jesus is saving them? 

Discipleship is not an option for the Christian.  Discipleship is what it means to be a Christian.  The way things have been going during my lifetime, I long ago dropped most uses of the word Christian to talk about myself or others.  For a good long while I had adopted the term "Christ follower" - but eventually "follower of Jesus" became popular as an alternative among many of the same churches and Christians I was referring to a moment ago.  Over the last few months I have settled on "Jesus-disciple" as my preferred way of saying, "this is who I am, and this is who we are as the body of Christ."  We are Jesus-disciples.  

The term itself isn't so much what is important as it is that we recover what it means to truly be disciples of Jesus, because the Great Commission hasn't changed much in the last 2000 years.  Jesus still calls disciples, and then gives them this commission:  "Go and make disciples..."

As I said in a conversation with someone last week, being a Jesus-disciple is simple, but it isn't simplistic.  There is a big difference.  As Rich Mullins once wrote, "It's Hard To Be Like Jesus."  But that is precisely what Jesus calls us to do.  And that will always begin with prayer, seeking God's will, reading the Bible as Scripture, and other spiritual disciplines such as fasting, giving, solitude, accountability, worship, and more.  There isn't any real substitute for the spiritual disciplines for the Jesus-disciple.  Take a look at the two words "discipline" and "disciple" and it doesn't really take a rocket scientist to figure out.  It's simple.  But it isn't easy (simplistic).

If you are searching in your life, or if you are a Christian who feels like they are just going through the motions or going around in circles...you need to become a Jesus-disciple.  There are two ways that go hand in hand to do that:  You need to get in touch with God, and get in touch with other Jesus-disciples.  We need both spiritual disciplines and spiritual community in order to know, be, do and become all that God desires for us as Jesus-disciples.

You can do it.  God is with you.  God is with us.  He is Emmanuel.  He is Jesus.

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