Since I posted the video of Jesus and His disciples I have recieved a lot of positve feedback. So I return to offer you another in the series followed by some observations. Enjoy:
So, what does it mean to be a disciple?Is it flawless church attendance or prayer meeting? Is it in what we wear? Is it burning our footballs and being happy all the time without having any fun?
I asked this question to my class at Union College and the overwhelming response was no, of course not…however…
Those who attended our high schools–and those who didnt–seemed to think that is what the church values as discipleship.
For them, the impression they have is being a good Christian is in your clothes, your worship attendance, and not holding hands with the opposite sex lest you become pregnant [their observation not mine]. On the flipside, many people make participating in contemporary pop culture [wth its WWJD bracelets, buzz words/slang, and political opinions] the sum total of discipleship.
While its important to dress and conduct oneself in keeping with Christian culture, it is a plain fact that those alone do not make a disciple.
Those who do make those things primary were called “beautiful graves with rotting bones underneath” [Mathew 23:27]. And judging by how many of our kids are leave the church I would say that the dead bones version of discipleship is not having much of an impact.
The word in the Greek for “disciple” is “mathetes”. It doesn’t have anything to do with pop culture or even following per say. It actually means “learner”. A disciple is a “learner of Jesus”.
I like this because it implies a few things:
1. We are always growing [which means no matter how old you are you still have things to learn…sometimes from newer believers]
2. We will make mistakes [which is a part of learning, so we can’t freak out everytime we or someone else mess up]
3. We need study and practice [we need to be intentional about learning or it won’t happen…try taking a test without studying the material]
It also suggests that we don’t follow culture and its trends and values, but instead we spend time communicating with Jesus in prayer and observing His life in scripture in the hopes of emulating His life–how that looks, and depending on where you are in your walk with God, will be different from your elders, pastors, parents, and friends. This is not to say that learning from Jesus doesn’t have similiar principles [loving your neighbor, keeping commandments etc] but how each of us applies those principles will be different many times.
The point is learning is a process and involves experimentation. Ellen White once said, “Experience is knowledge derived from experiment. What we need is experimental religion” [ST, January 11th, 1883].
Let’s encourage our members to take adventures and experiment in their relationships with Jesus, being guided by biblical principles, and not lists of man made rules.