We hear a lot of talk these days about discipleship. It is, after all, one of Rick Warren’s five purposes of the church — although it is by no means a concept that originated with him.
Within the context of Christianity, discipleship has to do with the process by which believers in Jesus Christ are transformed into His likeness. That is no small task, to be sure. Fortunately, the process of discipleship is not left entirely to us or to chance. When we cooperate with the Holy Spirit and seek to allow God to mold and shape us according to His plan, then discipleship takes place.
Discipleship is a concept not unlike that of a mirage. We have some idea what it looks like, but we’re never able to fully reach it — until we cross over from earth to eternity through that much-dreaded, much-feared bridge called death. It’s frustrating to realize that the closer we think we are to being ‘complete’ — or as they say in the South, ‘done’ — the more elusive our desired destination becomes.
That’s because humility is one evidence of the discipleship process. As such, it stands to reason that if ever we begin to think we’ve arrived, then we can be sure we haven’t!
Like the Apostle Paul, each of us has some sort of sinful thinking or behavior that serves as an all-too-familiar reminder that our journey of discipleship is not yet complete. Isn’t it interesting that we will not be completely like Christ until we are with Him?
I think that’s one of the reasons that personal time with Him through devotional reading, prayer, and meditation is so important in the life of a believer. Think of your best friend. This is a person you can share your heart with — even if it’s ugly — and still be loved and accepted. This is a person who knows your hurts, habits, and hang-ups — and still wants to be with you. This is a person who often knows what you’re thinking even before you say a word.
Of course, it didn’t start out that way, did it? Every friendship has a Day One . . . a beginning point at which somehow an introduction of sorts was made, and a relationship began to grow.
Discipleship is not just about doing good things (although those deeds may serve as evidence of your faith). Discipleship is about living a life of faith and trusting in the only One who has the power to know you even more than you know yourself.
There are many facets of discipleship — and many vehicles to help us grow in knowledge of Him. For me, the clearest evidence of discipleship is the quality and quantity of time I spend with Christ. You see, discipleship is not about rules; it’s about relationship.
I thank God today that His amazing grace clears the way for me to enter into the presence of the very One who took my sin, my shame, and my blame . . . . on my cross.