Jesus said in Luke 18:8b, “Nevertheless, when the Son of Man comes, will He really find faith on the earth?" This is a verse that I have wrestled with much at times. The church that Jesus Christ built will stand forever (Daniel 2:44)! How bright, how strong, and how faithful will the Church be in the future, if God wills there to be a future? I believe that answer rests on every soul in the body of Christ and our discipleship.
How many of us have started out with great plans? Maybe we vowed to keep the shed or garage clean. We started off with the best intentions, yet because of neglect, other things got in the way, and we just let the garage or shed fall into chaos.
Sometimes our Christian lives can be very similar. We start out with a close walk with the Lord, with the very best intentions and the greatest aspirations, but along the way, our lives become cluttered. Trials and temptation challenge our faith. Friends and family, things and cares of this world draw us away from the Lord and His body, the church.
“Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. For consider Him…” ~ Hebrews 12:1-3a
We need to refocus our attention and lives on the things that really matter. This is what discipleship is all about.
Who am I?
Have you ever asked yourself the question, “Who am I?” Deep down what kind of person am I? What do I think about during the day? What do others think about me? Answering these questions may help reveal who we really are. What do you enjoy, what do you say, what do you do, and what do you spend the majority of your time doing? How do you handle stress, problems that may arise, and disappointments? Are you a caring individual? These are all signs that point to who you are. If I were to die today, what would my friends, family, teachers, co-workers, teammates, say about me if asked to speak at my funeral? This might tell me a little bit about who I am. Most importantly, what would God say (2 Corinthians 5:9-10)?
You may say, Dan, that’s far down the road of life; I have plenty of time to live my life the way I want to, and when I grow older I will make some changes and follow the Lord more closely. Life comes only once. But remember, forever also only comes once. Emerson once wrote, “For everything you have missed, you have gained something else.” Consider that, for everything worldly that you gain, you have missed something spiritually. The choices and decisions we make now help form and mold us into who we are.
Where am I in life?
If you don’t know where you are, how can you know where you are going? One time I was trying to find someone’s house, and I took the wrong road; because I was on the wrong road, I was getting nowhere fast. I had to stop and determine where I was before I could ever get back to the right road to get to my desired destination. The same can be true spiritually.
In 2 Corinthians 13:5, Paul encourages and admonishes disciples to examine their lives, to consider our faith, our service, and dedication to the Lord. Paul says that examining and testing our faith is important; otherwise we may become disqualified. Since becoming a Christian, how much have I spiritually grown? How much more do I understand the Bible and make application of the truths contained therein? How involved am in the work and function of the local body?
How many of you looked into a mirror today? Who would look into a mirror and see a smudge on your face and walk away without wiping it off? God gives us His word as a mirror for our lives, so that we can see that smudge of sin and take the steps, with His help, to fix it—the same reason we look into a glass mirror.
It is not always pleasant to see our flaws and sins, but if we are doers of God’s word, we will be blessed. As we look deeply into God’s word, the perfect law of liberty, we see God’s goodness, His love, and His holiness. In contrast, we see our failing, our insufficiencies, our sins and ultimately our need for Him and the godly repentance He requires (James 1:22-25; 2 Corinthians 7:10-11). This helps us get back on the proper road.
Where do I want to go?
After this life is over, where do I want my final destination to be? If you don’t know where you’re going, you may end up somewhere you don’t want to be. Thomas Guthrie wrote, “If you find yourself loving any pleasures better than your prayers, any book better than the Bible, any persons better than Christ, or any indulgence better than the hope of heaven—take alarm.” A billboard sign reads “Will The Road You’re On Get You To My Place? — God.”
As a child I was taught that a disciple is a follower; but as I have grown older I have realized that a disciple is a follower who is a learner or pupil. A disciple has an open heart unto the Lord and His word--willing to be moldable, to allow Christ to change and mold our lives into His image (Romans 8:29). A disciple is not above his Teacher and Master and is a servant (Matthew 10:24-25). A disciple must abide in the Lord’s word THE truth (John 8:31-32). Disciples of the Lord must, like branches, live in Christ and bear fruit to His glory (John 15:1-8; Galatians 5:22-23).
Are you a disciple of Jesus? If not, why not? The Lord invites; won’t you answer His call (Matthew 11:28-30; 2 Thessalonians 2:13-15)?