WALKING IN THE FOOTSTEPS OF JESUS
Discipleship is commonly understood within the Christian community to be a particular program of learning rather than a way of life. But the challenge is not just to participate in schemes that seek to teach discipleship; it is to conduct our whole lives as conscious disciples of Jesus. One author defines discipleship as “living a fully human life in this world in union with Jesus Christ and growing in conformity to his image” (Wilkins). If our whole life is meant to reflect our active discipleship, this will involve the following choices and activities. The use of time. With the average adult American working longer hours and, in addition, watching an average of twenty-five hours of television a week, time has become our most precious commodity. Yet it takes time to cultivate a life of discipleship. We need to develop regular patterns of prayer, study and reflection that become an integral part of our schedules. In addition, we need to learn to use the gaps in our day for reflection and prayer: driving to work, waiting in line, lunch, time before going to sleep and so on. As well we need to master the art of openness to God while working.The use of means. Given our overwrought schedules, we must take advantage of those vehicles for growth that are open to us. In particular, small groups that meet on a regular basis for the purpose of spiritual growth seem to fit with both our need for regular spiritual activity and our need for the support of others as we seek to be disciples of Jesus. We also need to engage with others in a church for the purpose of corporate praise & worship, learning, fellowship, celebration of the Lord’s Supper and prayer, preaching the Word—as was the practice of the first disciples (Acts 2:42). A church community also gives us opportunity for service and friendship. The use of vocation. We need to learn what it means to consider our jobs not just as means of earning a living but as the area in which to minister as disciples of Jesus.
The use of spiritual gifts & fruit.
We need to rediscover the practices of the church down through the centuries by which men and women sought to cultivate a life of discipleship: meditation, fasting, solitude, confession, worship, prayer, study, celebration, discernment and simplicity, operating and flowing the gifts of the Holy Spirit, prophesy, Word of Knowledge, Wisdom, tongues, interpretation of tongues, baptism of the Holy Spirit. In all this there must be conscious intentionality,
the willingness to engage in the process of growth rather than seek instant growth and to engage in life in community with others on the same path. To live in this way is to live as a disciple, and to mature in WALKING IN THE FOOTSTEPS OF JESUS!