What does it really mean to be a disciple of Jesus? When I say, “I follow Jesus,” am I simply claiming Christianity as my religion, or am I saying something deeper about the way I view my life? Discipleship is supposed to be our central mission, so we need to be able to answer these questions confidently. This is basic, vital, everyday stuff. But the concept of being a follower of Jesus is so easily lost in religious jargon that I, for one, have struggled to understand how it works in practice.
Lately I’ve been having a hard time with the journey that Jesus has me on. Sometimes it seems so much harder than is really necessary. Why do I keep having to make such hard choices? Why is it taking such a long time for me to find healing from my past? Why am I often so uncomfortable? I recognize that I’m going through a season of discipline, a fairly long season in my opinion, and I understand (having recently read Hebrews 12) that by disciplining me, God is treating me like a daughter. Great! But how about a season of life and joy and fluffy bunnies popping up in untouched, flower-strewn meadows for a change?
How do you demonstrate that God is real? I think if I could choose anything to make the focus of my life, that would be it. When I grow up, I want to be someone who puts everyone around them on a collision course with the unmistakable reality of God and His Kingdom. I want to be a kind of professional ambassador or real estate agent for Heaven. Unfortunately, I’ve found this to be rather easier said than done, especially as the primary person I have to convince is so resistant to the truth. You can’t teach what you have yet to learn! And my heart struggles so deeply when it comes to believing Jesus. How then do I move forward?
There was once a king who was getting ready to celebrate the marriage of his son. Lavish preparations had been made for the wedding feast. The best chefs had been brought in and the finest cuts of meat prepared. Servants had been sent throughout the length and breadth of the land to take messages to the lucky few who had been invited. But they wouldn’t come. So begins one of Jesus’ familiar stories.