Discipleship Part IIThis is a continuation of my series on discipleship where I am sharing some of my thoughts from Dallas Willard’s book The Great Omission. In this series, I am sharing some short thoughts from each chapter and my own reflection on the chapter.
Chapter One Summary
“The New Testament is a book about disciples, by disciples, and for disciples of Jesus Christ” (3). The issue isn’t church membership, but making disciples of Jesus. Most problems in churches can be explained in that members have never decided to follow Christ. While there is a cost to discipleship, there is also a great cost for non-discipleship. Discipleship: “The disciple is one who, intent upon becoming Christ-like and so dwelling in his “faith and practice,” systematically and progressively rearranges his affairs to that end” (7). How to be a disciple is not a mystery, it’s simply about following someone.
What I liked about this chapter is how Dallas demystifies discipleship by helping us to remember that being Jesus’ disciple is simply about following him, and making disciples is about helping others to follow him. Paul would say of himself a half dozen times, “follow me as I follow Christ”. I’m not sure how or why anyone who would call themselves a Christian would deny the simple truth that we are to follow Christ. Yet from the simple person to the professor, we all find ways to make excuses on why we can’t follow Jesus. The simple person may simply say, “I just don’t think I can follow Jesus”, while the professor is more likely to create hermeneutical loopholes. And while our progress in discipleship is probably a lot like the kingdom of God – here and not yet – can we say with Paul “follow me as I follow Christ”?
Now I am a broken person in need of repair. But when I choose to walk in the Spirit and be shaped by God’s narrative, I able able to bear the fruit of the Spirit. I still have a way to go, but I have no fear in challenging people to “follow me as I follow Christ.” I might slip and fall here and there, but with God’s help I manage to get back up and continue the race. In this way we can also follow Christ, by not giving up or giving in. We like Christ with the joy set before us can persevere. One of the motivating factors for me to follow Christ is to think about the cost of non-discipleship.