German pastor and theologian Dietrich Bonheoffer defines discipleship as “bondage to Jesus alone, completely breaking through every program, every ideal, every… law. Beside Jesus, nothing has significance. He alone matters.”
Brennan Manning doesn’t mince words in his book The Signature of Jesus: “We have to abandon the cankerous, worm-eaten structure of legalism, moralism, and perfectionism that corrupts the Good News into an ethical code rather than a love affair.”
A first step is letting go of the world and embracing Jesus, letting go of the things that keep us from walking in faith to and with Jesus. Following Jesus is a deep affection to his person, the grace that allows us to claim Jesus as our own shatters all bonds and prisons that keep us stuck in the smallness of the ego. Jesus disposes of the things that keep us shivering scared of the unknown. It is only in responding to the call to be a disciple that we learn how to follow Jesus. It’s in the going that the going is possible. This is not abstract. It’s concrete. You must respond to Jesus in the present and continue to do so in order to truly have faith and stay in relationship with him.
We must constantly step towards Jesus.
If asked how you do discipleship I would say believe Jesus is who he said he was, trust God’s love, and the good news is really, really good news. Read the gospels daily. Join a community that is serious about studying the bible and doing what it says, but primarily believe Jesus and surrender to him in mind, body, and soul; Jesus should be the master of our every thought, choice, action and plan.
Jesus didn’t stutter and we cannot hesitate.
By being in my bible study group, I have been called out of my old self towards a new self. I am in this group not because I chose to join, but because God called me to it. This group is one of the ways that God’s word is leading me to transformational costly grace. I know for me at the very least this group has lead me to confront myself head on and make certain decisions that are leading me to be closer aligned to a life shaped by Jesus.
Some may voice a concern that we are too messed up for God to use, but a cursory reading of the bible will confirm the truism that no one is too messed up for God to use them. God usually uses the messed ones to bring about his will. One could argue that the only person God uses in the bible that isn’t messed up is Jesus.
I have learned through bible study and reading various books that I must Surrender to God’s will for my life to trust that God is taking me somewhere that it will be for my good even if it’s not what I imagine or hope it to be. Even if or maybe I should say when I go through the valley of death, the darkest night and the most dangerous places that God will be with me and will see me through it. God will lead and guide me and when I am unable to walk, He will carry me until I can walk on my own. Tony Campolo claims, “God does not give you a map for life, God promises to be a presence in your life and if you are sensitive to it, He will guide you every step of the way.” Over the last few years, I’ve had to give up many things that I thought I could never do with out for the most part it’s been a good thing, a gift, a blessing. I am moving towards the person God wants me to be, the me I want to be. I have a sense that God is leading me to places that are new, challenging and transformative. The more I step out in faith the more God will be there to guide the way.
I pray for a more surrendered attitude towards life and everything.