The Great Commission calls on us to go and make disciples. What do you think about when you think discipleship? For many it can be about going about and witnessing to others, sharing the Gospel, walking in fellowship with others, sharing ones testimony to the faith. These are all critical aspects of discipleship. It is partnering with others in a way that allows them to learn to grow in their own faith and walk in close relationship with Jesus.
In Luke 14:26-27, Jesus tells us something very profound about discipleship. He says, 26 “If anyone comes to Me, and does not hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers’ and sisters, yes, and even his own life, he cannot be My disciple. 27 Whoever does not carry his own cross and come after Me cannot be My disciple.” This gave me something really profound to meditate on and think about when reading these versus. What is real discipleship and what is is that Christ desires in us in becoming His disciples?
A definition of discipleship is “a person who is a pupil or an adherent of the doctrines of another.” So discipleship is following another to learn from them and grow through the process. This is what Jesus is talking about about and this is the most critical aspect of discipleship. Learning to walk with God in closeness. Putting Him above all else and desiring an intimacy with Him that will allow you to grow even more on a spiritual level. This is so critical to all of us. Learning to walk with God, desiring that closeness with Jesus that allows us to grow from His life and allow His life to shine through our own.
I know I’m repeating myself, but of the 4 Streams, this is the foundation of it all. Discipleship. Walking in close intimacy with Jesus. This is what He had with his boys. He chose guys that were a wreck, but through their choosing to put Christ first and to follow Him, they learned from Him. They learned to walk in closer fellowship and to draw nearer to God, eventually at Pentecost, being filled with the Holy Spirit to take the Good News across the world so others could also learn about Jesus and desire that same intimacy and discipleship in Walking with God. This is critical.
As I mentioned from Luke 14, Jesus desires that we love Him first, above all else. We cannot love things of this world more and still be His disciple and walking with Him. It doesn’t work that way. He came to free us from the bondage of this world, so that we may be able to see the Father and be given free access to the Father through Him. The Father’s desire is to walk with all of us, but we must choose Him first. We must choose God first.
Mark 1:17, Jesus says to Simon and Andrew, “Follow Me, and I will make you become fishers of men.” That’s the key to it all. If we choose to follow Jesus, if we choose Him first and to walk with Him, He will use us for the Glory of the Father. Walked with these guys for about 3 years. Now, we have accounts of many things Jesus did during this time with them, but just think of the level of wisdom and teaching He bestowed about on the disciples. In other words, choosing to follow God and walk with Him, does not make you the ultimate in wisdom in witnessing and teaching right off the bat. It starts small. How many times during those 3 years, did Jesus have to correct these guys. Like I said, they were a wreck.
The choice, however, must be to be willing to put Him first. To want a level of discipleship with God that allows you to learn through Him. He will teach you and will use others to teach you along the way. That’s the world He began in me this year. It’s not an overnight thing, but choosing to put Him above all else has now put me in a position to where I can learn through discipleship with Him and those that He places in my life to help guide me in His name and glory. God has placed to some awesome men in my life and the walk that is going to take place for His sake and His alone is going to be tremendous. He is equipping me according to His purpose and He wants to do the same for everyone of you, if you are willing to turn to Him and place Him above all else in your life.
“Let this be thy whole endeavor, this thy prayer, this thy desire,–that thou mayest be stripped of all selfishness, and with entire simplicity follow Jesus only.” –Thomas à Kempis