“Therefore go and make disciples of all nations…”- Matthew 28:19
The great commission gives a clear call to the followers of Jesus to “go and make disciples”. In that time those guys knew what it meant to be a disciple, they had just been walking behind one of the greatest teachers, and learning how to teach the way He taught.
Yet, for some reason, making disciples is an act that has been either lost or being practiced less and less. I feel like we need to ask, why?
The answer, in my opinion, is this: it’s difficult to do and even more difficult to practice.
Here are three reasons why:
1) The Expectations are High: Jesus called His followers to lose their self in order to gain life (Matt. 16:24-25). Denying yourself is a hard task. Letting go of your own desires and allowing Christ to have full control of who and what we are to be in this world. The autonomy we work so hard to obtain is lost due to the fact that our God is leading our moves. Yes, He gives us free will and we can choose which way to go, but ultimately His will is our desire. Discipleship calls us to step down and allow God to take His rightful place at the top of our lives.
2) We Must Be Taught: This is a very difficult process for adults. See, we graduate high school, maybe college, maybe grad school and we get a piece of paper saying “You did it! You have nothing else to learn!” Then, we realize that paper was wrong, but our pride won’t allow us to truly seek guidance. Discipleship and humility go hand in hand. If we are unable to humble ourselves to realize we need someone older in the faith or even the One Whom we have faith in (Colossians 2: 6-7), then we will have a hard time truly being a disciple.
3) The Risk is Too High: Jesus told His disciples in order to be a disciple you need to be able to hate your father, mother, brother, sister, cousin, dog, car, bank account, etc (Luke 14:26-27). Okay, maybe I added the car, dog, cousin, and bank account part, but you get the point. We have to love Him more than we we love this world. We don’t have to hate our family, but we have to be willing to let those relationships go if God calls us to move for His glory. It’s risky.
There are many other reasons discipleship is being neglected, but these are just a few that come to my mind. We have to realize that this is our call as believers. We are not disciples because we enter a building on Sunday mornings. We are not disciples because we own five different Bible translations. We are not disciples because we read the Bible.
We are disciples because we do what Christ calls us to do. We are disciples because we are willing to follow His lead.
Discipleship calls individuals to die to themselves and walk in the steps of their Teacher. The risk is great, but the reward is greater.
Question: In your opinion, is the concept of discipleship lost today?