The Great Commission tells Christians to make disciples from all nations. In practice though, it seems many evangelical efforts have thought it sufficient to get a profession of faith from new believers, to make converts.
That’s only a beginning. If I stop at being converted, I am not sufficiently rooted and grounded in the faith to stand when faced with temptation or persecution. How is becoming a disciple different?
A disciple does not just want Jesus to be his Saviour, he wants Jesus to be Lord of his life. That goes beyond conversion to a full commitment—being willing to accept teaching and discipline from our Lord and Master.
That sounds like it will put a crimp in my free-wheeling lifestyle. In fact, it will put an end to my former lifestyle. Why can’t I have both? The peace and assurance of being a Christian, plus the fun and excitement of the way I used to live?
It doesn’t work. If I try to have it all, I wind up with nothing.
Jesus wants my full attention, my full allegiance. Perhaps that sounds painful, dull, boring.
Painful it may sometimes be, but following Jesus without reserve will not be dull and boring.
Being a disciple brings a different joy and excitement that I had known before. It brings assurance that my life, my future, is in the hands of a Master that knows the way ahead when I don’t have a clue what might be around the next corner.
Is there a greater thrill than to be a disciple of He who said: “All power is given to me in heaven and in earth”? When I don’t find it thrilling, the problem has always been in me, not in Him. If I follow Him at a distance, because of fear or doubt, I am not a disciple and Christian life isn’t very interesting.