I came to faith in 1971, just before Christmas. Early on a number of men began to build into my life, showing me what the life of a disciple of Yeshua looks like through their personal investment in me. There was nothing special about me then, nor is there today, except for the fact that God loves me and desires the very best for and from my life. It is humbling to know that the Creator of all things gave His life for me on the cross so that a relationship with Him could be established in spite of my very sinful nature. Through the years, I have been challenged to continually answer this question. Why, did Gd bless me in this way? It was for His own glory, not mine.
Somewhere along the way, I lost my way. Exposed to a lot of brilliant Bible teachers, I have bought into the lie that much of the Church has embraced. Teaching others what the Bible says is not discipleship. Bible education is just one ingredient in the making of disciples. By itself, knowing what the Bible says falls far short of Yeshua’s demands on those for whom He gave His life.
Several years ago, I met a young man from one of the old Soviet Bloc countries. Through John, I was exposed to a large group of his friends. They are mostly first generation believers in Jesus who simply read the Scriptures and do what God tells them to. It is that simple. They are doing for others what was done for me. The importance of this concept has been driven home to me in powerful ways over the last fourteen days. John’s Russian speaking friends have challenged my “stinkin’ thinkin’”.
In modern times, the definition of the word “disciple” has been reduced to the idea of one who is a learner. While this is partially true, there s much more to being a disciple of Jesus Christ. Not only did our Messiah set the record straight on what the Hebrew Scriptures said, He told them how they were to be interpreted, Jesus demonstrated how Scripture was to be lived out by those who wear His name. Yeshua’s disciples do what He did.
Here is the bottom line. Think about the following questions.
How are you training regularly for the life of a disciple?
Who is part of your iron sharpening iron community?
What role does close personal accountability play in your life as a believer?
Is spiritual fruit (new believers, maturing believers) being produced by God in though your life?
How do you measure your effectiveness as His disciple?
Are you really a Jesus follower? These are just some of the questions I am wrestling with today as a result of the community of believers I am beginning to share ministry with. They have no concern for personal glory or institutional promotion.
Paul told Timothy to follow his example. That is a pretty heady admonition that few can (or would) give. Make no mistake. The disciples I have been with wage war with the sin nature all of us do. But, they have not let it cripple them. As athletes competing to win, they push on toward the finish line of their lives. The closer they get to the ribbon at the end of their race, the harder and faster they run.
I need to get in better disciple making shape to keep up with my new friends, to return to following the example I was given in the earliest days of my faith journey. Will you join me?