The common definition for the word disciple among Christians, preached from pulpits and taught in Bible colleges, is that a disciple is a close follower of Christ.
That is a pretty weak definition of a disciple.
Someone who is a close follower of a sports team can tell you in great detail the statistics of that team, who plays for the team, and a bunch of other frivolous information. They can possibly even tell you why that team has a good chance at being in the championship game at the end of the season.
That person spent a lot of time investing into that game. More specifically that team. They watch every game. They listen to Sports News. Read and watch archives of the team's history. So is this person considered a disciple? By that weak definition, yes. But really they are called a fan.
Webster's Dictionary says:
Fan - an enthusiastic devotee or admirer of a sport, pastime, celebrity, etc.
Disciple - a person who is a pupil or an adherent of the doctrine of another.
Both deal with an understanding of the fundamentals of what they follow. However, a fan is always a spectator and a disciple is always a participator.
So are we creating fans or disciples in our churches?
In today's modern church we have separated discipleship from salvation. These churches feel discipleship to be a matter that is handled latter on. Those who do this are spiritually stupid. Our relationship to Christ as our Savior is just as crucial as our relationship to Him as our Lord. When we accept Christ's salvation we also accept our need and responsibility to become a disciple. We take Jesus completely as He is without reservation. He is our Savior AND Lord.
There are no fans in heaven. We are more than close followers. We are involved head to toe, day in and day out in our need for spiritual growth. We should be in a perpetually growing experiential relationship with God. Training our bodies, minds, and spirits to fulfuilling our responsibility to become a disciple.
If all we are doing is creating fans then we are populating hell through the fake ministry of the church. The church exists to worship God first and foremost then to create disciples who create disciples. Our relationship with God is not a game so it makes no sense to stay in the seats of the church and cheer when there is growth that needs to take place.
Friday, July 4, 2008
Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own
Today we celebrate our country's independence. This is a great time to celebrate. We have much to be thankful for as Americans. All of our freedoms that we many times take for granted. Just to name a couple: The First Amendment - Our Freedom of Speech, The Second Amendment - The Right to Bear Arms, and The Fifth Amendment - Our Freedom from Self-Incrimination.
This last one gets me. If you have ever watched a court TV show you may hear someone say "I plead the Fifth." When someone says that I tend to automatically think they are guilty of something.
I believe all of us are guilty of something...independence. We have adapted the mentality that we are independent in all areas of our life including our relationship with God. Even the most church going saint struggles with this independence. We many times trust in ourselves more than we trust in God. We feel we can do so many things on our own that we fail to trust in God like we should. I plead the Fifth when it comes to all the times that I have done things through my own strength and abilities when I should have trusted in God more.
Most people like to be in the driver seat and not give control to anyone else. I hate it. If I'm not the driver I get cautious about what the driver is doing. I start to think they are intentionally trying to drive off the road and kill me. And of course many of us have used the phrase, "If you want to get something done right you got to do it yourself." But we must free ourselves from this mentality.
We need to get back to our DEPENDENCE on God. The more and more we depend on God the more and more we transform into His likeness. We become a living example of what Romans 12:1-2 says that we should become.
I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you
present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is our reasonable service. And do not be conformed to this world, but be
transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is the good and acceptable and perfect will of God.
This is an amazing concept that the more we depend on God the freer we become. DEPENDENCE on GOD = FREEDOM from this WORLD.