A sermon I recently heard at church was titled, “An Invitation To Christian Discipleship.” It caught my attention and encouraged me to reflect on my own discipleship in Jesus Christ. Pastor asked these questions:
Are you a disciple of Jesus Christ?
Are you willing to drop everything and follow Jesus?
I reflected back on my past and how Jesus has faithfully been working in my life to draw me closer to him. I used to believe that I had to earn my way into Jesus acceptance by living life perfectly in obedience to God’s law. Yet I’ve learned that I have fallen way short in achieving that perfect life. The truth is I am human and I make mistakes and am in need of a savior.
The purpose of God’s commandments are to help us realize we are sinners and can’t earn our way into God’s arms.
“Well then, am I suggesting that the law of God is sinful? Of course not! In fact, it was the law that showed me my sin. I would never have known that coveting is wrong if the law had not said, “You must not covet.”” Romans 7:7 NLT
This is were God then shows his immense love for us in sending his Son, Jesus, to free us from our sins.
“Oh, what a miserable person I am! Who will free me from this life that is dominated by sin and death? Thank God! The answer is in Jesus Christ our Lord. So you see how it is: In my mind I really want to obey God’s law, but because of my sinful nature I am a slave to sin.” Romans 7:24-25 NLT
In our salvation, Jesus now calls us, just like his disciples, to come and follow him. I think about how the closer I step towards Jesus, the more he reveals to me how sinful I really am. One of Jesus’ disciples, Simon Peter, experienced this as he was called by Jesus to become a fisher of men.
“When he (Jesus) had finished speaking, he said to Simon, “Put out into deep water, and let down the nets for a catch.”
Simon answered, “Master, we’ve worked hard all night and haven’t caught anything. But because you say so, I will let down the nets.”
When they had done so, they caught such a large number of fish that their nets began to break. So they signaled their partners in the other boat to come and help them, and they came and filled both boats so full that they began to sink.
When Simon Peter saw this, he fell at Jesus’ knees and said, “Go away from me, Lord; I am a sinful man!” For he and all his companions were astonished at the catch of fish they had taken, and so were James and John, the sons of Zebedee, Simon’s partners.
Then Jesus said to Simon, “Don’t be afraid; from now on you will fish for people.” So they pulled their boats up on shore, left everything and followed him.”
Luke 5:4-11 NIV
Simon Peter realized he was in the presence of someone special and holy, and he saw his own sin. We, too, as we come to Jesus, see our sin more clearly and are given opportunity to repent and turn away from our sin. Graciously, Jesus forgives us our sin and asks you and me to follow him.
Pastor challenged me in his sermon to take action. To come and see (John 1:39), to follow Jesus (as the disciples did; leaving everything behind without question), to push out into the deep – go deeper with him (Matthew 4:19), and to take his challenge of following him on a great adventure. This is done by digging deeper into the Bible, learning to pray always, discovering and using our spiritual gifts, and losing ourselves for Jesus’ sake.
“Whoever does not take up their cross and follow me is not worthy of me. Whoever finds their life will lose it, and whoever loses their life for my sake will find it.” Matthew 10:38-39 NIV
I am choosing to follow Jesus’ example of surrendering his own will to his Heavenly Father and doing what He calls me to do. That requires me to do the hard thing and remind myself God’s plan for me is way better than my plan for me.
Jesus prayed in the Garden of Gethsemane on the eve of his crucifixion, ““Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me; yet not my will, but yours be done.”” Luke 22:42 NIV
I pray that you also will heed the call of Jesus to take action and come, see, follow him, trust, and go deeper still with him! It is all worth it. I know this from my own experience as did the disciples. I walked away from a successful career in teaching at a university and followed Jesus’ call to get my masters degree in counseling and to share the hope that can only be found in Jesus. He is next calling me to write and speak. What is he calling you to do?