And there you have it.
We know it’s true… no matter what “evangelical camp” we find ourselves in… we’re simply awful at fulfilling Jesus’ command to make disciples. We’re too busy building our own little kingdoms… whether that be ministry, our careers, our education, our quest for wealth and prosperity, our sometimes unhealthily-driven desire to see our kids have more than we had… you name it, everything in our lives takes precedent over the Great Commission.
And not only are we not making disciples, we ourselves are not very good at being Jesus’ disciples. To steal a term from one of my favorite authors, Dallas Willard… we are the Church of the Great Omission. Somehow, we’ve missed what being a disciple is truly all about. Jesus told his disciples to “follow” Him… become His students, learn His way of life, live for Him… but somewhere along the line, we have decided that we can “be a Christian” without ever following or pursuing Jesus.
I hate to burst your bubble folks, but… being a Christian is synonymous with being a disciple. You can’t be one and not be the other.
In other words, you cannot truly call yourself a Christ-follower, if you are not in constant pursuit of Jesus.
Which brings me back to my original thought: we suck at making disciples, because we suck at being disciples. The Bible is very clear about what a disciple is… what she does and does not do… what he believes and how he behaves. Most importantly, being a disciple is about pursuing Jesus. We call ourselves Christians, but we focus our pursuit on a whole lot of other things before our pursuit of Him. And we wonder why we’re so frustrated with our spiritual lives. We wonder why our growth is so staggered.
One day, I pulled into the gas station and didn’t really pay attention to the pump I pulled up to. When I went to pay for my gas, the attendant said to me, “You know that’s the diesel pump that you’re at…?” Jeezie peezie! I was glad he was paying attention! I don’t know a lot about cars, but I think it would suffice to say that if I had put diesel fuel in my 4-cylinder-engine car, my car would not have run well for very long! Think about this: how long have you been putting the “wrong stuff” into your life as a disciple of Jesus? Or maybe we should ask, “How long have we been neglecting putting in the right ingredients to grow as a disciple?” Just as a car won’t run properly without the right fuel, so we will break down sooner or later without the right spiritual fuel in our lives:prayer, Bible reading/study, worship these are just a few of the primary things that cause us to grow as disciples of Jesus.
We can continue to fool ourselves into thinking that everything is okay, because our lives (for some of us) have not fallen totally apart… yet… or we can repent of our self-directed living and get serious about pursuing Jesus. Eternity hangs in the balance…not only for us, but for countless others that we come into contact with each and every day. There is a heckuva lot at stake in being a disciple of Jesus.
My prayer for myself… and for you… is found in the words of a favorite hymn: I surrender all … I surrender all… All to Thee, my blessed Savior…
I. SURRENDER. ALL.
“For the love of Christ controls us, because we have concluded this: that One has died for all, and therefore all have died; and He died for all, that those who live might no longer live for themselves but for Him who for their sake died and was raised again” (2 Corinthians 5:14-15).