Have you given your life to Christ? I mean fully... Does Jesus have your full allegiance? Discipleship, in the way of Jesus, means he must have your full attention. Do you still adhere to the false shepherds of this world or have you postured and positioned yourself within the flock of the Good Shepherd to be disciplined and guided in a path for your good and His glory?
A person that has been positioned in the flock of the Good Shepherd will be corrected in their thinking by the staff and defended by the rod. (Psalm 23:4) This should bring us comfort. Discipleship can sting a bit at times, but it is for our benefit. Think about the words of Proverbs 27:6; "Faithful are the wounds of a friend; profuse are the kisses of an enemy."
A friend will faithfully warn you of wayward actions. This will sting our pride a bit, but it is a faithful thing to experience. Now think of the kisses of an enemy. The enemy will also see something about you that is a detriment to your relationship with God. They will do nothing and say nothing to see that your actions are changed. Rather, they will flatter you to the point that you will be encouraged to live this way. Why is it that we so often look to our own devices and our own righteousness to save us or give us hope? Why do we settle for these false and failing miniature glories rather than look to the faithful glory of God? How can we see this way of living turned upside down? The faithful will not allow us to settle for these things. They will encourage us and correct us with loving rebuke for the sake of our soul.
We must also allow ourselves to realize that discipleship will not happen simply from church attendance and hearing the Word of God preached from the pulpit. It happens when a trusted leader with a solid Biblical worldview pours into the lives of others, equipping them for every good work. Discipleship happens in an open discussion small group setting or a one on one setting with other committed believers praying for one another, sharing their testimony and experience, and raising one another up to become leaders of others that desperately need this model in their lives. Christ bids us to care for the welfare of our brothers and sisters.
- What are your feelings when you think of Christ asking you to follow him?
- What do you think about following his ways?
- Do you seek to be reconciled to your brothers and sisters in faith?
- Are you seeking reconciliation with a spouse or children?
- Are you seeking reconciliation with the Lord?
Each and every opportunity for reconciliation requires confession and grace. We need only look to the Father for our example of how to live this out. It is grace that we have been convicted of our sinful nature. It is grace that we can admit to ourselves and others that we have sinned against them. It is by grace we are saved. It is grace that must be extended to others. Christ speaks into this immediately after The Lord's Prayer. "For if you forgive others their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you, but if you do not forgive others their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses." Matthew 6:14-15 Can you genuinely humble yourself to ask for forgiveness? Can you genuinely humble yourself to forgive?
Discipleship means caring for another and raising them up to do the same. Can you die to yourself and live for Christ? Can you take off the old and put on the new? Can you be clothed in the righteousness that God has imputed to you for the sake of your salvation and the health of the Bride of Christ (the Church)? Discipleship is not the act of debating theology and doctrine, but rather, the fellowship of rejoicing and exploring what it means that God has made dead people alive. A holy God has made it possible for unholy people to be in his presence eternally because of Christ's payment for sin on the cross. This is the foundation of our faith. This should be celebrated in our circles and communities. Then, through the process of the Lord continuing sanctification in us, we walk with one another until that day when we are in full communion with the Creator.
How can you be more aware of how The Good Shepherd is leading you?
What do you need to let go of to follow him?
Pray to the Lord to help you truly see him as your shepherd and that you would firmly believe in his love for you.
Set a time this week to really evaluate your spiritual life. Invite the Lord into whatever it is you struggle with and ask him to lovingly lead you out of a sin that keeps you from experiencing the fullness of his love.
Lastly: GET INTO A SMALL GROUP AND ACCEPT THE COUNSEL OF MATURE BELIEVERS.