Get out of the settle mode
Take the adventure of Gospel discipleship to the next level
For some people, discipleship is a thing of the past. Shortly after high school they took part in an amazing “discipleship program.” It was inspirational and significant, but when they returned home they found it hard to transfer their international experience into their home context.
Finding little support, it wasn’t long until they “settled.” The adrenaline rush was over. Discipleship, a word they connected to a “program,” had been fun, but now it was time to get on with real life.
Did something of that nature happen to you? Do you have a story about your experience on an amazing gap-year program? As you tell others, does it still give you a rush as you describe what happened? Do you still think of it as the best year you have ever had? And now you feel “stuck,” knowing that the person you are today, is not the person you had imagined you would become when you were in the program?
I have news for you. Discipleship is not a one-year program. Following Jesus is all about discipleship for a lifetime. It is God’s strategy designed to help you grow into the likeness of Jesus Christ. It is God’s strategy to reach the whole world with the transforming love of Jesus.
Discipleship is a full-life process. You are never too old. You are never too busy, too accomplished, too married or even too spiritually mature. Discipleship is a long obedience in the same direction. It has a starting point when you respond to Jesus’ invitation saying, “Come follow Me” and it continues until we hear Him say “Well done, thou good and faithful servant.” In between, we are disciples who make disciples.
As good as your discipleship program may have been; true discipleship over a lifetime is even better. It is a life of adventure and purpose, connected to Christian community. True discipleship can take everything you experienced on your one-year program and raise it to another level, helping you to become one of those amazing people who will learn to live like Jesus, love like Jesus and serve like Jesus.
It is radical, transformative and deeply relational. It leads to authentic living that goes beyond the good vibes you felt on the program. It can be sustained through the seasons of life that include marriage, children, employment, aging, retirement and even death.
Are you one of those who “settled”? Have you seen discipleship as a program for young adults, but not for your stage of life? I invite you to consider “true discipleship”—not a program, but a journey; a journey with others who are following Jesus. You can make a new start today. Here are a few suggestions on where to begin:
- Pray for God to guide you to others who are willing to live a life of discipleship.
- Read together the Gospel stories to discover how Jesus trained disciples—and live it.
- Hold each other accountable so that your “living and being” start to catch up with what you already know. Live one truth, then learn another one.
- Focus on the core curriculum. Love the Lord with all your heart, soul and strength, and your neighbour as yourself. Ask those you live with if they see you becoming more loving.
- Pray for the Holy Spirit to excite your spiritual imagination; to see gifting, calling and opportunities which God has prepared in advance for you to accomplish in your lifetime.
- Explore ways in which you can live into the “Kingdom of God” and can announce this good news to those who do not know the transforming love of Jesus.
Jesus came to redeem all of creation. He invites us to join with Him as a disciple who makes disciples, living into the new Kingdom He is creating, and it comes with His promise, “I will be with you until the end of the age.”
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