The essence of discipleship is found in Jesus’ words, “Follow me.” Can’t you just picture him calling out to Peter and Andrew and James and John, “Follow me!” He didn’t tell them where they would go or what they would see. He just called them to stay close to him, to walk with him and to be with him.
Discipleship is, of course, more than attending church services. It is more than keeping the rules. At its heart, discipleship is following the Lord. It is staying close to Jesus.
Following Jesus means we live like he wants us to live. It means we seek to follow his will and his plan and his purposes. It means we are attune to his wishes and his direction. It is about following him as Lord.
When I follow Jesus, I will certainly do the right things. But I can do the right things and not follow Jesus. Discipleship is, in other words, more than behavior modification. Behavior modification changes from the outside. Discipleship changes from the inside.
Do you want to live a godly life and avoid moral pitfalls? Stay close to Jesus. Do you want to make an eternal impact? Stay close to Jesus. Do you want to be effective in your ministry and service? Stay close to Jesus.
Stay close to Jesus and he will lead you to the right behavior. Stay close to Jesus and he will give your ministry impact. Stay close to Jesus and you will enjoy his fellowship. Closeness to Jesus always puts us where the Lord wants us to be.
I implore you to stay close to Jesus. Read his word faithfully and obediently. Talk to him in prayer urgently and earnestly. Serve for him sincerely and passionately. Prioritze your devotional life.
Years ago, I heard a ministry leader say these words. “The work of God around me almost killed the work of God in me.” He was saying that though he was active in ministry and doing the right things, he almost lost touch with Jesus. It was a good word of caution for me at a critical point in my life.
Stay close to Jesus. Don’t let ministry responsibilities keep you from him. Don’t let a busy life keep you from him. Don’t let the world’s distractions keep you from him.
I don’t know where he will lead you or what he will do through you. I just know that he calls you to follow and he knows where he is going and what he is doing.
So, stay close to Jesus. Follow where he leads. Enjoy his company. Learn at his feet. Try to love him like he loves you.
This is what disciples do.