I recently read the true story about a preacher who was standing at the door shaking hands as the congregation departed. He grabbed one man by the hand and pulled him aside. The preacher said to him, “You need to join the Army of the Lord!”
The man replied, “I’m already in the Army of the Lord, Preacher.” The preacher questioned, “How come I don’t see you except for Christmas and Easter?” He whispered back, “I’m in the secret service.”
We laugh but there is a lot of truth to this. Many of those who call themselves Christian are lukewarm at best. They claim membership for the benefits. They hope to appease God by doing the least they can do. They count themselves as disciples, but do very little to learn.
If you are a disciple of Christ in the truest sense, then you are also a representative of Him in all that you say and do. The word, disciple, is defined as a student, so to be a disciple of Christ you must be willing to learn from Him, to follow Him and to be nurtured by Him.
In Luke 14:27 He reminds all of us who wish to be His disciples that, “Whoever does not bear his own cross and come after me cannot be my disciple.” He’s not asking you to find your own Calvary, but He is asking you to be willing to make sacrifices in His name. He is asking for you to let His light shine in you.
Jesus says in Matthew 5:14-16, “You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.” There is no secret service in God’s army. We are all called to be full-time soldiers for a cause. Our call as disciples is to let the light of Christ shine for all to see. To live a life of learning and to pass on that learning to others.
Pastor Jeff Strite put it this way. “Armies do NOT exist to pass out benefits (those are perks). Armies exists to deal with conflicts. To defend their people. To fight the enemy. And hopefully to contend against evil.
But there are people who actually join up hoping for a free ride. And that kind of mentality undermines the military of any nation. That same kind of mentality can also undermine the church.
Too often believers sign up for the benefits. They expect Jesus to “be there” for them, but they don’t expect to “be there” for Him.”
Jesus said to his disciples, “If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me will find it” (Matthew 16:24-25). The life you are called to lose is the life of self-reliance and self-gratification. The new life that is being offered includes the love, guidance, maturity and promise of Christ.
Jesus Christ is looking for disciples who will drop everything and follow Him. He wants disciples who recognize Him for who He is, the only Son of God the Father. He is looking for disciples who are willing to take on His cause no matter the cost. He is looking for people who trust in His Word.
Jesus said in John 8:31-32, ..If you abide in my Word, you are truly my disciples, and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” Trust in God’s Word to teach you, and trust in God to bring you to maturity through His Word as His disciples. To do this you must be bold, you must be willing, and you must be authentic. We are not called to serve God in darkness but in light. “A disciple is not above His teacher, but everyone when he is fully trained will be like his teacher” (Luke 6:40).
Don’t sacrifice your studies for worldliness. Stay committed to your lessons. Please pray with me:
Heavenly Father, help us to be worthy disciples as we place our trust in You. Lead us to a greater understanding of You and our place in Your world. Help us to grow and to share this learning with others. Amen.