I realized that I am asking a hard question to all of us as a body of Christ. Deep inside our hearts we want to make disciples of all nations as our Lord Jesus has given us the command in Matt 28:18-20. However, when it comes to obeying the Lord’s command, it may be an entirely different thing when reality sets in.
We may give all kinds of reasons such as tiredness, lack of time, lack of energy, the need to focus on one’s career, the need to care for one’s family and not being equipped for making disciples etc. Indeed the heart is willing but the flesh is weak! I think the reality is that everyone is in one situation or another: either one is striving or thriving in one’s journey of discipleship.
Before we embark on the journey of discipleship, we need to do something to make things happen. For Christians, the most basic and important place to begin is praying to God for clear direction.
We also need to realize that there is a cost in discipleship.
Discipleship requires lots of sacrifices at personal level such as time, finance, inconvenience and giving up something you like to do after work and on weekends, losing time spent together with your family and possibly of getting hurt and misunderstood by your disciples.
The cost of discipleship is this: we must each give up our old selves in order to embrace and become the person Christ created us to be. Apostle Paul knew the cost of discipleship. He said in Philippines 3:7-8(NIV): “But whatever was to my profit I now consider loss for the sake of Christ. What is more, I consider everything a loss compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Jesus Christ my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things.”
We are not perfect disciples of Christ. We are aiming to be Christ-like but we are not there yet. Even though we are not perfect yet, we can still make disciples of all nations. It will be a process of molding our character while we journey together with our disciples. The important thing is to get started. It was Jim Elliot who said that
“You can’t steer a parked car”.
Where in your life are you in the journey of discipleship? Are you sitting in a parked car or are you letting God direct you while you are driving on the road and show you which ramp to exit? God can’t steer a parked car for us either. We need to get the car moving so that God can lead and guide us on to the right path.
Recently Josephine and I were approached to do mission mentoring of a young couple who plans to go for long-term mission work in a neighbouring country. We have been thinking about mentoring someone recently and God has provided someone to us. We take it that we will not just be the mission mentors but treat it as a discipleship process. We will be living our lives as a model to them, our vulnerabilities, our strengths and weaknesses, our struggles and victories and our values etc. We can also learn from one another in the process of discipleship. We gladly said yes to mentor them, knowing that it would take two years or more before we could see the result.
I am striving in the journey of discipleship but my end goal is to thrive despite of all the challenges and difficulties. May the Lord help each of us as we ponder upon this question: Are we striving or thriving in our journey of discipleship?
By Brother Yue Fah Yong (YCKC Bulletin 23&24 June 2018)