If you have been following my articles these past months then, hopefully, you understand that discipleship is not a class we attend or a course of knowledge we acquire. We might attend a class to gain knowledge, but that is not discipleship. It is not memorizing a set of facts or a method of delivering information. It is not even memorizing a set of Scripture verses, although memorizing Scripture is always good.
These are all what they are, gaining knowledge and memorizing information. They do not necessarily represent any form of transformation. Discipleship comes in the form of obedience and application. The Bible tells us that Satan knows a lot about God and yet is not a follower. Judas Iscariot followed Jesus for three years and yet never became a disciple. Jesus says in Matthew 7:21 “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven.” So the question is not, what are you learning, but what are you doing with what you have learned?
In the previous article I mentioned that discipleship is living life together. I went on to say that we are all disciples and we all have disciples. The question we need to ask ourselves is toward what and whom are we leading our disciples. Although we might use a “discipleship class” as a tool to share information and knowledge this is not our primary means of discipleship. If those with whom we are sharing life (at work, on the ball field, in class, at the grocery store, etc.) don’t see Jesus in our lives then there will be a total disconnect between what we say and what we do. They may be saying to us that what we are doing is “shouting so loud” that they can’t hear what we say.
You might be throwing up you hands by now and saying that there is no hope. In fact many may be going to the default of turning discipleship over to the pastor. After all he is the professional and he knows how to do this. Well that very well may be the problem. First, the pastor does not know your friends. Second, they might discount what the pastor says because in their minds “he is paid” to play this role.
It is up to you. As you walk through life people whom you meet are evaluating whether you are “real”. They want to know that what you say you believe has really made a difference in your life. They want to know that this is not something that just happens on Sunday for an hour, but affects how you deal with people Monday through Friday. They want to know that Jesus made a difference in your life, because they need that in their life and are hoping that He can make a difference in their life as well.
Mahatma Gandhi is considered the father of modern India. “When the missionary E. Stanley Jones met with Gandhi he asked him, ‘Mr. Gandhi, though you quote the words of Christ often, why is that you appear to so adamantly reject becoming his follower?”
Gandhi replied, ‘Oh, I don’t reject Christ. I love Christ. It’s just that so many of you Christians are so unlike Christ.'”
‘If Christians would really live according to the teachings of Christ, as found in the Bible, all of India would be Christian today,’ he added.”
Gandhi’s closeness with Christianity began when he was a young man practicing law in South Africa. Apart from being attached with the Christian faith, he intently studied the Bible and the teachings of Jesus, and was also seriously exploring becoming a Christian, which led him to his discovery of a small church gathering in his locality.”
These strongly entrenched Biblical teachings have always acted a panacea to many of India’s problems during its freedom struggle.”
After deciding to attend the church service in South Africa, he came across a racial barrier, the church barred his way at the door. ‘Where do you think you’re going, kaffir?’ an English man asked Gandhi in a belligerent tone.
Gandhi replied, ‘I’d like to attend worship here.’
The church elder snarled at him, ‘There’s no room for kaffirs in this church. Get out of here or I’ll have my assistants throw you down the steps.'”
This infamous incident forced Gandhi to never again consider being a Christian, but rather adopt what he found in Christianity and its founder Jesus Christ.” (Mahatma Gandhi and Christianity by Dibin Samuel, Christianity Today, August 14, 2008)
How about us?
Thomas L. Law, III