Here’s a fun fact for you. Every household in America owns at least 4 bibles. That of course is an average, but with that many bibles floating around one would think this to be the most spiritually astute country in the entire world. Why aren’t we? We have the most freedom to preach the gospel than anywhere else. We can freely study the word of God uninhibited and unrestrained.
I find it appalling that with all these facts considered, we have such a low degree of spirituality in our nation. We should be ashamed.
That tells me that discipleship is not in any way related to our ability to have access to the word or the freedom to study God’s word openly. So what is it? In the first few centuries of the church, whenever there was a persecution of Christians, the church grew exponentially. It seemed to multiply when you would think that it would be diminishing. But the human spirit seems to want what it cannot have. Thus it wants Christ when we are told we cannot have Him. And when He is readily available, we seem to have no interest.
Becoming a disciple is not dependent upon the government or society telling us we cannot be disciples. It has to do with us. You see all you need to be a disciple of Christ is the desire to know Jesus. The Holy Spirit is able to do everything else. He can put you into a position where you, if you truly have an interest, can discover everything you need in order to come to a place of discipleship. He will bring you a bible. He will bring people into your life who will provide both nurture and information with which you can grow. And even if God Himself doesn’t provide these things, if you have desire, you will find them, both the people and the information.
We must always keep in mind that the goal in the discipleship of Christ is to be transformed into the image of Jesus. There is nothing else we should desire if we truly desire to become His disciples. But we need a map of sorts. Something that will aid us in both the direction and the steps we should take as we move from where we are now to where we desire to be.
Remember this verse ? Ephesians 2:10
For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.
Consider this: It is quite possible that the good work Jesus desires we walk in is becoming a disciple. In fact I would proffer that it is a sure thing that Jesus desires we become a disciple, or at least begin the process before we are able to move into any type of ministry that will enrich our life or the lives of others.
I remember that as a newly formed Christian nearly 35 years ago, I wanted to do something that would help others find Christ. I was involved not only in the ministry of others, but ran out and formed my own ministry. I attempted to build a Christian summer camp and went out, got myself into debt and jumped so far ahead of God that He never caught up with me until I had to stop and realize that I had not made a really good plan and had not formed the right relationships to do the project and certainly didn’t know enough about God to be a worthy messenger of what He wanted for people.
But that’s just me. You wouldn’t do anything that dumb…would you? I will certainly never do something like that again, for I have matured spiritually and have become a disciple whose main desire is growth in spiritual areas and I have learned patience and to wait on the Lord when it comes to ministry. 34 years later….wow!
Transformation is a time consuming thing. And it takes patience. Butterflies don’t happen overnight. I have learned we should be transformed in various areas in order that we may mature. Each of us, will of course experience these transformations at our own pace and to differing degrees. But they must happen in each of us to the degree we allow it. And yes, we allow these transformations to happen. We always have control over what is happening for to happen without permission would be God taking away our free will, and He is not willing to do that. That’s why we must seek first….it shows our dedication to the task.
The first area of transformation that is necessary is our minds. All other transformation happens there, so it only stands to reason that is the place we begin. Look what Paul wrote in Romans 12:1-2.
I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your 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 that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.
These verses are some of the most important in the New Testament.
We can see that the sacrificial act of both denying ourselves what our flesh desires and utilizing our bodies instead for the glory of God merely begins the transformational process. It begins always by conviction by the Holy Spirit. He might remind you that it is wrong to lie. It is offensive to God, and so even if we never read anywhere that lying is wrong, we will know in our heart that it is. So we do it less and less until it is removed from our repertoire of sins.
This happens again and again, repeating itself in every area of sin in our lives, first in our minds and then in our flesh until we are the owner of a transformed mind. We are no longer looking at the world as our guide but at Jesus and we are moving toward holiness and love toward all who are in this world.
But removing sin and behavior that is offensive to God from our life is only half the battle when it comes to transformation. The other part is learning to believe like Jesus. I don’t mean believe in Jesus. What I mean by that is that we need to study the gospels and look at the words of Jesus. We must understand the things He spoke and what He thought about life, the faith He displayed, what He understood a good life to be, how we should treat one another, even our enemies, what is good, what is evil, and what really matters in this life.
As we learn these things we are able to incorporate them into our life. Again, the transformation is in motion. If we only read these things and never take steps to incorporate them into our lives, we will have failed at making the transformation occur. We will have failed to get our mind right. The formula is simple: begin seeking and then begin putting into practice, with great joy, those things you may find!