Discipleship – the lifelong journey of learning to say yes to God…not just for eternal life but in each moment, relationship, and situation we face.
Often when we first become a Christian, we are so excited and convinced that we will follow Jesus every day, in every moment and never waver…but we will discover that faith is a journey of hills and valleys. There are moments and even seasons of incredible mountain top experiences where God seems so close and real…but then there are other moments and seasons where he seems silent and distant, and faith is a challenge.
But we aren’t alone, and this struggle isn’t unique to our day – in fact the Bible is full of stories of people who lived that same struggle…that struggle to trust him when times are tough…to remember to praise when things are going incredibly well…and the story of how God continues to love, guide, and work through his people despite all their shortcomings.
Are there things that you can do that help in this journey? Yes absolutely!!
A great foundation can be found by looking at what the first disciples did after Jesus rose from the dead, ascended into heaven and the Holy Spirit showed up at Pentecost. Jesus finished his work here, and the Christian church began. In Acts 2:42 we read that - They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer.
This forms for us the most basic understanding and overview of ongoing discipleship for the Christian today:
Devoted to the Apostles Teaching – We believe that study of scripture was meant to be done through community and thus we are to study of scripture both alone and through the teaching of a local church. We want to be driven to learn, understand and live out the way as found through the scriptures.
Devoted to Fellowship – the Christian faith is not meant to be done alone…we believe God designed us to function in community with each of us being an important part. Practically this means that we believe every Christian needs to be invested and serving in a local church community to both serve and be served as we together live out our faith.
Devoted to Communion – communion is an incredibly profound and meaningful piece of discipleship that brings us into an intimate moment with Jesus. Communion is a symbol of us embracing the way of Jesus and accepting again the life of Jesus. We accept that He paid our deserved price for our sins, and they are forgiven. We accept his gift of the Holy Spirit and His sustaining power in our lives. We also embrace the way of Jesus, and we surrender our selfishness in exchange for a willingness to live as He calls us to...fully surrendered to His way…all in.
Devoted to Prayer – prayer is so much more than just asking God for our wish list to be completed – devotion to a life of prayer is devotion to building your relationship with God, learning to listen, learning to follow the Holy Spirit in our day to day, and learning to rely on God as you live out your calling. This life of faith is a battle…it cannot be done outside of a deep relationship with our creator and God.
This forms for us a foundation of discipleship…together learning daily to love the Lord our God with all our heart, soul and mind; and living that out through loving our neighbor as ourselves.