What thoughts come to your mind when you hear the word, discipleship?
Discipleship is a process of becoming Christlike and being zealous to help others become disciples. Christian discipleship is a lifelong journey of obedience to Christ, which transforms a person’s behaviour, values and results in ministry in our home, church, marketplace and the world. John, the apostle, wrote, “The man who says, “I know him,” but does not do what he commands is a liar, and the truth is not in him. But if anyone obeys his word, God’s love is truly made complete in him. This is how we know we are in Him: Whoever claims to live in Him must walk as Jesus did. (1 John 2:4-6).
Relationship with Christ
Jesus modelled for us the intimacy He had with the Father while on earth by making time to be alone with Him. His schedules were full, yet time with His Father was the focal point of His everyday life. For us, it means that our programs will be centred on spontaneous and planned times of bible study, prayer, worship and meditation. Time with God results in changed behaviour and thinking. There is no substitute for time spent intentionally with Jesus to develop intimacy, as well as a passion for Him.
Jesus’ call to follow Him, is an invitation to commit one’s entire life to Him. The problem occurs when one fails to maintain the intimacy with Jesus that enables the keeping of that commitment. As Matthew 5:13 records, we can lose our saltiness. As a disciple of Christ, we need to cultivate and practice spiritual disciplines such as reading the bible daily, avoiding temptations, doing a daily examination of one’s conscience, etc., and allow God to teach and mould us.
“You will know much of God, and only as much of God, as you are willing to put into practice.” – Eric Liddell, The Disciplines of The Christian Life.
As I grew in faith, I realised that a personal relationship with God is essential, and for that to happen, I needed to spend time with God. Often, I am exhausted after a day’s work, but each time, I go to my prayer corner and the Lord’s presence provides me with renewed grace for the next day. Spiritual disciplines require perseverance. Each time I persevere in my spiritual disciplines, I begin to recognise the Lord’s goodness in my daily living. It is with the consistent choice to make time with Jesus that the Lord prunes me, resulting in fruits of peace in my life. This is a lifelong pursuit because we make the choice daily to follow Him. We choose to be a disciple and to be disciplined. Then as we grow, we desire to help others in their discipleship journey. The result of discipleship is that we “… will know the truth, and the truth will set you (us) free.” (John 8:31-32).
Responding to His Call
Living a life of a disciple may not be easy as our work, family and friends fight for attention at every corner of our life. Spiritual discipline requires sacrifice and dying to selfish desires. It is a constant choice to create space for God to act. Just as a plant needs watering to grow and bear fruit, our faith life needs to be nurtured and developed through spiritual disciplines we set for ourselves. God is calling each of us, and wants us to follow His ways and grow in holiness. How are you responding to His call in your life to grow as a disciple of Christ today?
By Brother John Koh (YCKC Bulletin 26 July 2020)