Real Life Discipleship…Repent & Believe!
Today I want to think about how you know if someone is actually being discipled.
What’s the key ingredient?
To help with this, I wanted to share a little example of somebody who doesn’t yet know Jesus – but in my opinion has started to be discipled by Him. He is what I would describe as a long term person of peace: He welcomes me, serves me and is often interested in discussing the spiritual aspects or “deeper meaning” of life.
The cornerstone of Jesus’ message to his disciples was “The kingdom of God is at hand. Repent (change your way of thinking) and Believe (step out and change your behaviour according to how you now think)” (Mark 1:15). [For more on Lifeshapes go to weare3dm.com]
I think if we can see this process at work in someone, then they are being discipled.
I was sat with this friend of mine a few months ago having dinner to celebrate moving in to his new house. We got into a long conversation about our experiences of the third world – particularly Africa. We started discussing how different life can seem once you have seen and experienced real poverty and desperation. As I sat there in his lovely new house in the suburbs, listening to him speak, I became aware of how racked with guilt he was about his life; the amount of money, possessions and opportunity he has. He has done lots of “good deeds” and charitable work over the years, but one of the primary motivators has been guilt. We got to talking about God’s perspective on blessing and how rather than helping others out of guilt, we can actually do it from a place of being thankful for what we have. I shared how this for me has been a far more powerful motivator to do good to others.
As if rocked by some shocking news (!), he stared at me and replied “I don’t know why, but I have never thought that way about it before…..that’s a completely different way to see things.”
Doesn’t this sound similar to Jesus’ first instruction to change our way of thinking?
My friend came and found me a week or two later and shared with me that not only had he begun to think differently, but he had felt stirred to get in touch with a close relative living abroad in a developing country. He had written this relative a letter explaining his experience and how he should also become more motivated by thankfulness!
As far as I am concerned, this is the behaviour Jesus was looking for in those who would “believe”. Not just believe intellectually with their heads, but with their actions too.
We ended this particular conversation with him reflecting; “I suppose the only problem now is I need to work out who I am thankful to….” So, there is still a way to go in his particular journey, but this little step felt like a significant one.
Real life discipleship has to be incredibly simple – Repent and Believe. Anything more complicated than that probably won’t work and probably isn’t biblical! Jesus started with a ragged group of fishermen and tax collectors who at first didn’t even really know who he was, but through the process of discipleship they ended up birthing the greatest movement the world has ever seen. That’s a good enough endorsement for me!
What about you?
- How are you being discipled by Jesus at the moment?
- Who are you helping Him to disciple?
- Has this discipleship become too complicated or is it real life?
Simon Ford lives in Sheffield, is part of the King’s Centre Church and works for 3dm UK. He has been part of and led various young adult and workplace-focussed missional communities over the last 9 years.