“Great discipleship that doesn’t create disciples living out the fullness of life that Christ promises isn’t great discipleship!”
Totally agree with you Graeme – for me authentic discipleship means a life lived seeking to see the world transformed to reflect God’s priorities. However, the reality is that good discipleship is often linked simply to biblical teaching – as in the more you absorb the more effective you will be in evangelising. Whilst of course this is vitally important, absorption of the scriptures can never simply be a mind thing, like revising for some kind of exam. It must shape how we view the world. It must make us want to see things change that need to be changed.
I had the privilege last night of speaking to a youth group about prayer – they were taking part in a prayer night and wanted some encouragement as they got started. I told them that it was awesome to see a bunch of guys like them gathered to pray when they could be doing a multitude of other things on a Friday night. It was truly inspiring. But if it was just another tick in the church box (annual prayer night – check!) it wasn’t enough – it has to be matched by our actions. So how are we challenging injustice in Exeter? How are we trying to change Devon? What difference does being ‘of Christ’ make to everything we do? Having said all that, I’m sure this group knew that already and were living it – but it doesn’t hurt to remind ourselves every now and again.
I guess I’m a strong believer that alongside our prayer and bible reading we’ve got to get involved – to show our faith in action. Words from James 2 are incredibly important to me:
‘Dear friends, do you think you’ll get anywhere in this if you learn all the
right words but never do anything? Does merely talking about faith indicate
that a person really has it? For instance, you come upon an old friend
dressed in rags and half-starved and say, “Good morning, friend! Be clothed
in Christ! Be filled with the Holy Spirit!” and walk off without providing
so much as a coat or a cup of soup—where does that get you? Isn’t it obvious
that God-talk without God-acts is outrageous nonsense?’
So, Graeme – spot on, mate!