Discipleship seems to be the buzz word in many Christian circles these days. Discipleship is simply following Jesus and having a relationship with Him. A relationship that is of faith, hope, love which really all equal obedience. Take any of these from this divine equation and we have nothing. What is a relationship with Jesus all about? A one word answer would simply be peace. That itself may be over simplifying it. Because the peace that Christ brings us is an internal peace. It is certainly not an external peace. If that was the case Christians who lived in Christian obedience wouldn’t be persecuted and mocked would they?
But as we see throughout the New Testament how the early followers of Jesus were stoned, mocked, and persecuted. Paul himself was an instigator of this in his early years out of his blind love of God, but in his later years he changed his ways after an encounter with Jesus. This encounter with Jesus changed Paul forever. It changed the Church forever. It changed the world forever. Look at what God did with one person, and all that one person did for God because of an encounter with Jesus.
There are numerous people in the world who claim to be Christian and haven’t necessarily had that encounter with Jesus that Jesus want’s us to have. They may have said yes to Jesus because they were expected to by their parents or their church. To sin one must know it’s a sin, and with a full consent of the will, commit the sin. Well I am convinced that if one is to know Jesus, they must know who Jesus is and all that he’s offered us and can give us, and then give themselves freely 100% to him.
Sometimes that grace of understanding takes longer to sprout up in ourselves than in others. That’s ok! We all take different paths. We just need to be able to tell people about the destination and help with any directions. I don’t sit in church on Sunday thinking about who there is really living their life for Jesus and who’s there just to make an appearance. I’ve been both. I have even sat in judgement of others at times and that was wrong of me to. We can’t be private about what Jesus has done in our lives for us. How He’s transformed us. Acts 22:14-15 Paul is speaking about his own conversion. How he was instructed by Ananias when his sight was restored. Ananias told Paul “The God of our fathers appointed you [Paul] to know his will, to see the Just One and to hear a voice from his mouth; for you will be a witness for him to all men of what you have seen and heard.” While yes we can let the Lord open our lips and let our mouths proclaim His praises and all that he’s done to us (Psalm 51) we can most simply can evangelize by how we live our lives. I seen a sign recently that said that “You and your actions may be the only Bible someone ever reads”.
God has given us all our special gifts and talents. As Christians though we are to all go out and share the good news of Jesus to the world. What has Jesus done for you? What did he do for the world? How did Jesus change you? Where would you be at now without Jesus? All of these things at minimum are simple little two sentence stories we can share with others. That encounter with Jesus doesn’t have to be people dropping to their knees with magical spotlights from Heaven shining down on you. Those encounters with Jesus do not have to be thunder and lightning and booming voices announcing His presence.
Encountering Jesus can be public yes, but more often than not it is internal and peaceful. The peacefulness that purges a restless heart drowning in chaos. We have to recognize Jesus and recognize that He’s calling us and recognize Him. We read in Mark’s Gospel about how the demons even recognized Jesus even though they were opposed to Him and not following Him (Mark 3:11) . How is it that demons recognize Christ but many of us can’t?
Discipleship is following Jesus. Discipleship is cooperating with His grace. Discipleship is loving like He did. Discipleship is obedience to Him, even if it not where we want to go or what we want to do. Discipleship is acceptance that we can’t do anything without Him. Discipleship is going out and sharing His message and bringing people to Him. Discipleship is turning away from our past and moving forward with Jesus at our side.
Paul changed the world because he let go of his past in an encounter with the Lord. Don’t think for a moment that Jesus can’t do that with you either if you let Him.