The Call of Discipleship
“. . . and follow Me.” Mark 8:34
We don’t figure Jesus out, we don’t get Jesus on our own terms. Jesus, and the life He offers, are not consumer items. We only know Him through obedience. The practice of His ways gives us solid ground on which to stand in an ever-shifting sea of belief systems.
Jesus is not talking about perfection as a disciple, He is telling us what it means and involves. It means doing as He would do if He were in our shoes. It means walking in His ways and trusting Him for the power to carry it through.
So Jesus calls us to a decision to make up our minds, set our hearts right. It’s not an academic or historical decision, but one born from knowing Him. If we love Him, we will keep His commandments. His purpose is to be clear about the kind of discipleship to which He calls us, and to enable us to respond positively to His call.
Following Jesus and obeying Him are one and the same. It’s impossible to be a Christian and not be a disciple. Disciples are dependent on their leader to supply what is necessary to obey. The disciples were taught to look to Him for whatever it took to make it possible. This is what the Christian life is all about – following Jesus and doing what He says – like:
Love your enemy;
Turn the other cheek;
Go the second mile;
Pray for those who hurt you;
Forgive those who offend you;
Be kind to the ungrateful;
Bear one another’s burdens; and
Freely receive, freely forgive.
These, and many more, are not meant to be wise and helpful words. They represent a way of life our Lord is calling us to live. The Lord never invites us to follow Him without letting us know the sacrifice and commitment involved. Jesus never wanted His disciples to live as a Christian on false terms. Obedience will shatter us, change us, make us into a different kind of person. It will revolutionize us to the very core of our being.
Trust God, obey Him fully, place the responsibility for what happens on Him, this is the life Jesus offers.