We are all someone’s or something’s disciple. We learn from and empower, consciously or not, who or what we follow. This time of year, many of us will spend time with family and friends, and current event topics will arise. What we say in response matters. It’s important we know the answer to this question:
Whose disciple are you?
My heart is troubled by things I’ve seen over the past few days. First, I received an email titled “mistress for Christmas?” It seems having an affair is now socially acceptable. One website boasted 31 million members – people who signed up to find a partner for a discreet affair.
Both of these are being celebrated, encouraged, applauded, and endorsed as acceptable, and even healthy, things to do.
Maybe I shouldn’t be surprised by this, but I am.
I’m more surprised by my own, and other Christian’s, responses.
Some are speaking truth in love – that these things are wrong, God loves them dearly, and they need our prayers. Many are angrily speaking out in judgment. Even more sit silently on the sidelines, not wanting to get involved.
I found myself floundering between all these reactions.
In Romans 10:9-15, Paul says that to be saved, people must declare with their mouths and believe in their hearts that Jesus is Lord. He goes on to say that to believe, they must hear; to hear, someone must tell them; to tell them, someone must be sent.
In Matthew 28:18-20, Jesus sends all of us with this command: go into all the world and make disciples, teaching them to obey Jesus’ commands (my paraphrase).
We’ve all been sent – not just pastors, teachers, and those in Christian ministry – all of us. We all have the responsibility, and privilege, to make disciples. We can’t make disciples and teach them to obey Jesus if we don’t know and speak His truth, in love.
Whose disciple are you: Jesus’, or the world’s?
But wait, is telling someone what they practice and believe is sinful the most loving thing to do? Didn’t Jesus accept people where they were?
Accept them, yes. Silently let them continue in their sin, no. He confronted, spoke truth, and gave them a choice to believe and follow, or not. He was sad when they walked away because He knew the destructive and deceptive nature of their sin. He longed for them to choose the life He offered, but He loved them even when they didn't.
Jesus never waivered in His answers to their many questions and challenges. He showed them the way through His own life, and death, and resurrection.
Whose disciple are you: Jesus’, or tolerance?
Maybe we’re afraid of the consequences of speaking out.
1. We fear rejection.
2. We fear being wrong
3. We fear confrontation
4. We fear angry reactions
5. We fear losing relationships
Did Jesus’ disciples in the Bible – Paul, Peter, John, or Stephen to name a few – allow any of those things to stop them, despite being imprisoned, stoned, or killed? No.
Neither should we.
Did they always “get it right?” No.
Neither will we.
Whose disciple are you: Jesus’, or fear?
Maybe we aren’t sure of the truth. Maybe we’re waiting to speak until we have more understanding. Maybe we don’t want to alienate family or friends, because then we can’t witness to them.
We are not called to have all truth, but to speak the truth we know, empowered by the Holy Spirit. Matthew 28:19 doesn’t say “go when you understand,” it says “go and do.” We are called to obey; the results of our obedience are His.
Whose disciple are you: Jesus’, or human reasoning?
Sadly, I’ve been disciples of all of the above far too many times. I’m sure I will be again. But today, one moment at a time, one choice at a time, I will be Jesus’ disciple.
Will you join me?
TODAY’S CHALLENGE: Choose to be Jesus disciple – ask Him for help to overcome anything that is in the way. Trust the Holy Spirit to provide all you need.