I love the topic of discipleship. I enjoy thinking about it and having deep conversations about what discipleship actually means. Most of those conversations have gone on in my head, but to the ones that sat down and talked with me about it, I thank you.
I have been a part of an organisation called Youth With A Mission (YWAM) for about three years now. What I love about this organisation is their commitment to Jesus' command to disciple all nations. They are trying to practically live out being a disciple while giving other people an avenue to be discipled.
What is a disciple?
If you read the stories of Jesus, you will find the disciples intertwined with almost everything Jesus does. If they aren't directly a part of the story, they are usually very close by. Also, they were often confused and had to ask questions about what Jesus was doing or saying. They got things wrong and had to be rebuked and when they got things right it allowed Jesus to teach them another lesson.
The word disciple in Hebrew means "learner".
I think there are two key aspects to becoming a disciple of Christ. Obviously there are many more, but for sake of brevity here are at least two. One, the disciple must realise that they are a learner. They are constantly in a learning environment as God becomes the teacher. Just as Jesus taught His disciples, the disciple now must be in a humble place ready to be taught.
It isn't so much a mindset, but more of a heart position. Let me explain.
All throughout Scripture God talks about the heart. In the book of Deuteronomy, which is famous for being very boring and repetitive because it's filled with a bunch of laws, the word "heart" is mentioned over 40 times. FOURTY TIMES!! In a book where laws and the actions of people are so heavily emphasised, God points His people to something deeper. In order for the disciple to be taught, their heart must be ready to encounter God.
Second, the disciple must be willing to fail. Sometimes fear of getting something wrong keeps someone from moving into truth. And what do we know about truth? That truth is LIVED, not just known. The disciple must get out of a mindset of having all the answers or having to know exactly what to do in every situation. They must be confident that they don't have all the answers, but they know the One who does.
Has the church lost discipleship?
I think to some extent we have. I say "we" because I'm just as much a part of the church as any follower of Christ. If I want anything to change, I can't blame the building with the cross on it down the street, I have to become the change as well. Becoming a disciple is about taking ownership of my own walk with Christ.
Realizing that there is so much more God wants to do in the world and He wants to use me to change it. Discipleship isn't so much about a step by step program, but a heart position by every believer who is ready to be changed by God.
My challenge to myself and the reader: Lets become learners of Christ who aren't afraid to fail.
Jason LaLone used to be on staff at YWAM Brisbane. He is passionate about discipleship, taking Jesus's command to make disciples of all nations as a practical reality that he can live on a daily basis. He loves lasagna, cats and used to dislike Monday's, making him most like Garfield.
Jason LaLone's previous articles might be viewed http://www.pressserviceinternational.org/jason-lalone.html