Wednesday, October 19, 2011

How to be a Disciple

A good friend of mine shared this in our devo this morning and it spoke to me. I am sharing it in case it might speak to your heart as well but also so that I can have it somewhere that I can access it whenever I need to reread this. Hope it blesses you.

An excerpt from How to be a Disciple by Dallas Willard.

The description Peter gives in the first "official" presentation of the gospel to gentiles provides a sharp picture of the Master under whom we serve as apprentices. "You know," he says to Cornelius, "of Jesus, the one from Nazareth. And you know how God anointed him with the Holy Spirit and power. He went about doing good and curing all those under oppression by the devil, because God was with him" (Acts 10:3)

And as a disciple of Jesus I am with him, by choice and by grace, learning from him how to live in the kingdom of God. This is the crucial idea. That means how to live within the range of God's effective will, his life flowing through mine. Another important way of putting this is to say that I am learning from Jesus to live my life as he would live life if her were I. I am not necessarily learning to do everything he did, but I am learning how to do everything I do in the manner in which he did all that he did.

That my actual life is the focus of my apprenticeship to Jesus is crucial. Knowing this can help deliver us from the genuine craziness that the current distinction between "full-time Christian service" and "part-time Christian service" imposes on us. For a disciple of Jesus is not necessarily one devoted to doing specifically religious things as that is usually understood.

To repeat, I am learning from Jesus how to lead my life, my whole life, my real life. Note, please, I am not learning from him how to lead his life. His life on earth was a transcendentally wonderful one. But it has now been led. Neither I nor anyone else, even himself, will ever lead it again. And he is, in any case, interested in my life, that very existence that is me. There lies my need. I need to be able to lead my life as he would lead it if he were I.

So as his disciple I am not necessarily learning how to do special religious things, either as part of a "full-time Christian service" or as part of a "part-time Christian service". My discipleship to Jesus is, within, clearly definable limits, not a matter of what I do, but of how I do it. And it covers everything, religious or not.

I don't know about you, but for me this is GREAT news. I no longer need to feel the burden to do everything Jesus did. I don't even have to feel the burden to do everything my neighbor does. I am merely called to do what I do. I do not say that to let myself off the hook. But to allow myself to stop comparing my life with everyone around me. To rest peacefully in knowing that God has me where he wants me for a purpose. His purpose. And as he walks with me every second of every day as I do everything I do. From the mundane to the magnificent, he is teaching me to be a disciple and hopefully being glorified though it all. Good news. Indeed.

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