Just hearing that words makes most of us a little weary.
"Another great lesson on how I'm not a good enough Christian..." is usually the thought that runs through most of our minds. The concept of discipleship that we have at work today is very far from the original concept that Jesus taught. I believe this is for three reasons:
The first is misunderstanding.
Discipleship is not meant to be chore, it's meant to be a choice. You do not have to be involved in discipleship any more than anyone forced you to become a disciple. We must get out of our minds that discipleship is a chore that all Christians must do in order to be "holy" and begin to realize the simple truth that becoming a disciple is not an instant process, but a progressive one. At the moment of salvation, when we first accept Jesus as our Savior, we are His. We require nothing more to enter Heaven and spend eternity with Him. However, this does not also mean that we are also at this moment made perfect and no longer sin. It is at the point of salvation that the journey of faith begins. Each and everyday we are faced with opportunities and choices... it is what they do with them that determines what and who we are.
The second hurdle is misuse.
Often times in discipleship teachings and circles the process has been relegated to a system that everyone must follow. Step A, then step B, so on and so forth. Each and every believer is thrown into the same mechanical machine in order to come out exactly the same on the other side. This is flawed for two reasons:
(a) we are not the same; yes, we are all to reflect Christ, but all one must do is look at the early church throughout the gospels and acts to see that there was a wide diversity of personalities within the Body of Christ.
(b) we aren't really trying to make followers of Christ, we're just trying to make followers... Sadly, there are many ministries and teachings that take the "follow me as I follow Christ" principle and neglect or negate the latter half of the concept. "Follow me" is much easier to say and apply. However, without the balance of following Christ, (and being held accountable for it) we can get very far off topic and away from Jesus desire for His church.
The third problem is that of misapplication.
Most of us have been taught about discipleship from people who have fallen into either one or both of the previous errors. Because of this, we then misapply the concept and practice of discipleship in our lives. For example:
Young Christians are usually taught to read the Bible, pray daily, and go to church... and somehow in that magical formula God will begin to grow your faith. However, if and when it doesn't work out right, or you get discouraged and tired, then it's YOUR fault for not having enough faith.
Does anyone else see the blindly obvious contradiction here!
If it works... it was all God...
if it doesn't... it's all your fault...
NO WONDER SO MANY PEOPLE HATE DISCIPLESHIP!
No matter what your thoughts or experiences with discipleship are or have been, it is an integral part of the Christian life that can not be ignored or discarded. We must fight for correct understanding, usage, and application of Christ's teaching and mindset if we are to make a difference in our world.
- Just a thought.