Being and making disciples is a way of life, not an activity.
Read that statement again and let it soak in. Let’s look at both aspects of discipleship to discover why this is true.
If being a disciple of Jesus can be reduced to an activity or collection of activities, then:
- Like any other activity in our lives, we can schedule it, and check it off our to-do list.
- We live a compartmentalized life instead of an integrated life.
- The spiritual disciplines like reading the Word, prayer, meditation, fasting, etc. all become ends in themselves.
- Worst of all, we focus on our mastery of the activity instead of yielding ourselves to our Lord and Master Jesus Christ.
If making disciples were just an activity, then:
- Disciple-making becomes a scheduled event to squeeze into an already full calendar.
- The powerful link between how we live our lives and making disciples is lost.
- For lack of skill, we fear engaging in the activity of making disciples.
- We reduce disciple-making to a job, a task, something to check off our list.
- We cheapen discipleship because we strip it of its highly relational nature.
But fortunately, being and making disciples is a way of life and not an activity! Take a look at these Scriptures and see how relational and life-oriented they are:
“Come, see a man who told me everything I ever did. Could this be the Messiah?”—John 4:29
“By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” – John 13:35
“I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit.” – John 15:5
“The man from whom the demons had gone out begged to go with him, but Jesus sent him away, saying, ‘Return home and tell how much God has done for you.’ So the man went away and told all over town how much Jesus had done for him.” – Luke 8:38-39
“For we know, brothers and sisters loved by God, that he has chosen you, because our gospel came to you not simply with words but also with power, with the Holy Spirit and deep conviction. You know how we lived among you for your sake. You became imitators of us and of the Lord, for you welcomed the message in the midst of severe suffering with the joy given by the Holy Spirit. And so you became a model to all the believers in Macedonia and Achaia. The Lord’s message rang out from you not only in Macedonia and Achaia—your faith in God has become known everywhere.” – 1 Thessalonians 1:4-8
“In everything set them an example by doing what is good.” – Titus 2:7
“But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect, keeping a clear conscience, so that those who speak maliciously against your good behavior in Christ may be ashamed of their slander.” – 1 Peter 3:15
Finally, in Matthew 28:18-20, Jesus told us, “As you are going through life, make disciples….”
Discipleship, following Jesus and becoming more like Him, and modeling Him for others is a way of life, not an activity. Each morning when you rise, pray, “Lord Jesus, help me to represent You well before others today through my life and words.”