This past Sunday we began our Fall Discipleship Series. For the next several weeks, we are going to be asking the question: What does it mean to be a disciple of Jesus Christ?
During worship I defined the word “disciple” very simply as: “a fully-devoted follower of Jesus Christ.” Discipleship is hard because following Jesus can prove to be a struggle on some days. The notion that one answers an invitation, prays a prayer with the preacher, and then is finished in faith and can live as they please, is a false one.
Indeed, our faith—if it is to be authentic at all—must arc toward discipleship and holiness. A life of discipleship means a life of prayer and worship, time spent serving others, growing in our generosity, and making an intentional effort to center ALL of life on Christ.
Of course, it’s an equally false notion to assume that all our good works save us. Nothing could be further from the truth! The only way we can be saved is through faith in the work Jesus did on our behalf at the cross. We can never, ever earn our salvation. We can never, ever be good enough to save ourselves. Salvation is a free gift from the Lord. It’s offered without price to ALL who ask.
Yet, if I were to plant a garden by using good, healthy seed, and then if I continued the gardening process by working and caring for both the soil and plant, what might I rightly expect? After the decision is made to garden and after a healthy process is underway, I could rightly expect fruit.
It’s the same with faith. Once we are saved, once we decide to accept the free gift of salvation from our Lord, there will be noticeable fruit in our lives. Now the gardening analogy only takes us so far. Again, it’s not works that save us. Rather, our fruitful life of discipleship is the natural outgrowth of our coming to the Lord. Disciples of Jesus Christ can’t help but live in certain ways and do certain things!
Do we sometimes stumble and stump our spiritual toes? Of course, we do. That’s one reason it’s a good idea to carve out some time each fall and focus on the basics of our life in Christ. What will we talk about this weekend during worship? What life-changing spiritual discipline will we examine? Come and see!