Disciples…Then and Now

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This morning I was reading Jesus’ teaching early in his ministry on the side of a hill on the north part of the Sea of Galilee (Matthew 5-7). In a rabbinic way he is teaching the reality that the eternal Kingdom has broken through into history. As an introduction to the last parable contrasting a man who build his life on rock versus sand, as a way to summarize he says, “Everyone then who hears these words of mine and does them will be like a wise man who built his house on the rock.”

In what way are you learning how to become this person who intentionally builds his or her life upon Him as the solid foundation? What plan do you have to actually become like Jesus? Dallas Willard writes that this is what it means to be a follower of Jesus (or disciple): systematically and progressively rearranging the affairs of your life to the end of becoming like Him.

Now to be certain, we can’t do this in our own ability. Grace is both necessary and sufficient. Here are some self reflection questions then…

  1. How is intention to grow in following Jesus manifested in your life? How is learning how to be a good boy/girl or doing the right things different than the heart of a disciple?
  2. What drives the gospel deeper into your heart? Into those nooks where you largely function out of self (self-importance, self-justification, self-promotion, self-reliance)?
  3. Is this something you do alone? Or do you find yourself standing with others who cry out for the same things in their life?
  4. What do you do when you see how deep the roots of sin in your life are? Are you willing to take an axe to the root as Thomas a Kempis wrote in The Imitation of Christ
  5. How are you, in turn, making disciples (assuming that Matthew 28:18-20 was not just the spiritual elite or professionals)?

Making disciples is what we all are commanded to do and it all turns on our own following after Jesus. Dallas Willard is absolutely correct when he says that the heart and intention of the disciple has always been the same since the original disciples. It is the growing desire to follow after their Savior and Master, systematically and progressively re-arranging the affairs of their life to that end.

 

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