“Imagine a football team running off the bench to the field where they go into a huddle. After an excited exchange about the upcoming play, they all run back to the bench and sit down, talking about the quarterback’s fine words. Then, they jump up and do it all over again. But, they never play the game!“ (parable from Francis Chan)
Christians are called by God into the game! If we only huddle up to hear the pastor’s talk, sing a few songs to lift our hearts, and pray for safety ‘til we get together again, but never engage our faith with life, we are missing the point.
Being Jesus’ disciple is not just about learning some doctrine or marginally shifting our values. It is about living in and by the Holy Spirit! I believe many followers of Jesus want to do God’s work, but they think it requires becoming an employee of a church or ministry, or that it demands a degree in theology, or … (you fill in the blank here). Revelation – God’s work waits for us all around.
- Did you pray with your kids today? Did you talk about godly living with them? That’s what He tells parents to do. “Repeat them again and again to your children. Talk about my commands when you are at home and when you are away on a journey, when you are lying down and when you are getting up again.” (Deuteronomy 6:7, NLT) That’s discipleship.
- Did you pray for your spouse, encourage him or her, joining heart and mind in mutual submission to Christ’s will? That’s discipleship!
- That guy at work who’s profane, who has no time for spiritual things, needs to know Christ. Do you just shrug, willing to let him run ahead to his own destruction, faithless for a change? Or, will you spend real time, everyday, praying actively and specifically for him! That’s discipleship.
- When a ministry at church invites participation, you can point to all the stuff you have do, at your packed schedule, and excuse yourself, or you can say “Here I am, Lord, use me.” That’s discipleship.
- When you’re offended, do you get in a huff and write off the offender? OR do you seek reconciliation? That’s discipleship!
- When you feel yourself loving your stuff, do you exercise the discipline of generosity? That’s discipleship!
Discipleship is not passive, just sitting around waiting for that ‘open door’ you hope will appear in front of you. Living in the purpose of the Lord does not mean that every difficulty will disappear, that all the funding will fall into our lap, that we will wake up excited and passionate about serving the Lord every morning.
Just like ancient Israel, we have to fight to possess the Promised Land. God called Joshua, to lead the people of Israel, and told him – “Strength! Courage! You are going to lead this people to inherit the land that I promised to give their ancestors. Give it everything you have, heart and soul. Make sure you carry out The Revelation that Moses commanded you, every bit of it. Don’t get off track, either left or right, so as to make sure you get to where you’re going.” (Joshua 1:6-7, The Message)
All those who respond to the Spirit need that same encouragement. It’s going to get tough. Strength! Courage! The Spirit will give us both. Jesus promised that “you will receive power (enablement) when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” (Acts 1:8, NIV) It’s not magical. It’s Spiritual!
Here the paradox of authentic discipleship – it makes our Christian life something worth living. Yes, it will sharpen our appetite for the worship and fellowship, too. And, being on the front lines of faith will cause us to feel desperately dependent on the Spirit. So, how about getting before the Lord and telling Him to send you into the game? Discipleship is a privilege. What compares with beating back evil’s hatred and darkness and raising up Christ’s love and light?
The word from the Word describes that final awards assembly before the Father. Imagine that moment with me. “Then the King will say to those on the right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the Kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. For I was hungry, and you fed me. I was thirsty, and you gave me a drink. I was a stranger, and you invited me into your home. I was naked, and you gave me clothing. I was sick, and you cared for me. I was in prison, and you visited me.’
“Then these righteous ones will reply, ‘Lord, when did we ever see you hungry and feed you? Or thirsty and give you something to drink? Or a stranger and show you hospitality? Or naked and give you clothing? When did we ever see you sick or in prison, and visit you?’ And the King will tell them, ‘I assure you, when you did it to one of the least of these my brothers and sisters, you were doing it to me!’” (Matthew 25:34-40, NLT)
(a song that is a prayer for disciples)
Father of creation,
Unfold Your sov’reign plan;
Raise up a chosen generation
That will march through the land.
All of creation is longing
For Your unveiling of pow’r.
Would You release Your anointing?
Oh God, let this be the hour!
Ruler of the nations,
The world has yet to see,
The full release of Your promise;
The Church in victory!
Turn to us, Lord, and touch us
Make us strong in Your might.
Overcome our weakness
That we could stand up and fight.
Let Your glory fall in this room,
Let it go forth from here to the nations.
Let Your fragrance rest in this place,
As we gather to seek Your face.
David Ruis © 1992 Mercy / Vineyard Publishing (Admin. by Music Services, Inc.)
CCLI License # 810055