by Kevin Pauley
He said to another person, “Come, be my disciple.” The man agreed, but he said, “Lord, first let me return home and bury my father.” Jesus replied, “Let those who are spiritually dead care for their own dead. Your duty is to go and preach the coming of the Kingdom of God.” Another said, “Yes, Lord, I will follow you, but first let me say good-bye to my family.” But Jesus told him, “Anyone who puts a hand to the plow and then looks back is not fit for the Kingdom of God.” (Luke 9:59-62)
Have you ever noticed how often Jesus gave orders? People came to him asking for help, and He immediately challenges them to act. He called Peter and Andrew to follow Him. He commanded the servants at the wedding feast to fill the pots with water. He asked the woman at the well for water and told the lame man at the pool to rise up and walk!
In each case, he either demanded the impossible or challenged their understanding of what was right. When we truly come face to face with the Master, honestly seeking help, He will inevitably call us to action. And our obedience will grant us certain insights on faith and qualities of Christian character. But these only come as we follow Him. A disciple is one who obeys and imitates a master.
Are you holding back, trying to develop the convictions and receive the gifts of love, joy and peace without making a total commitment to follow Him? It is impossible. Only those who determine to obediently answer Christ’s call will be transformed.
Following Christ does not entail slaying dragons or conquering worlds. It starts with simply deciding to make Him the boss. Once you have settled in your mind that you can’t do this on your own, that your good deeds are just not good enough to get you to heaven, and that you need the Messiah, from that point on it’s pretty simple.
Your discipleship will include performing simple and good daily duties; worshiping God with His people; studying God’s Word; seriously praying to Him and following His example in performing acts of kindness and mercy. It’s like healthy eating. Keep it simple but varied, wholesome and delightful.
Paul warned us that people would rather listen to teachers that whisper delightful things in their ears (2 Timothy 4:3-5). “You are okay just as you are.” They wheeze. “Pleasing God involves pleasing the church.” They pontificate. But Jesus came, loving us so much that even though He recognized us for the sinners we truly are, He died for us. In His love, in His great mercy He desired true joy for us. And what was His solution? Action. Obedience. Submission. Death to self. Doesn’t tickle your ears, I admit – but it works.
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Kevin Pauley is a pastor and writer. He lives in Illinois with his wife, Lynn, their five children and two dogs. His internet address is Berea.
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