An authentic faith is… well… authentic. I know that’s a weak opener for this post, but it’s a great way to look at discipleship. How can you profess love and devotion to God without being authentically involved in a daily and deliberate walk with God? How can you actually claim the name of Christ if you aren’t walking the walk?
Relationship with God is based not just on a head acknowledgement of Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior. That knowledge should be a driving force behind you as you propel yourself into discipleship by living the life of a disciple. What does that look like? What does it mean to “walk with the Lord?” There are many aspects of a walk with God and discipleship under Jesus, but here are a few of the most elementary ones:
- Reading the Scriptures
- Living life according to Scripture
- Praying and communicating with God
- Being plugged into a church
- Finding somewhere to serve others
- Committing to growth with a group of fellow believers
These are just a few of the actions and activities that go into being a follower of Christ, but it’s important that we get that a live faith is an active faith. It pursues God, it doesn’t wait for God to show up! It’s authentic, and real. We don’t just learn the “Christianese” and buy a few worship CDs. It’s a daily commitment to pick up our cross and follow after Jesus:
Whoever does not bear his own cross and come after me cannot be my disciple. For which of you, desiring to build a tower, does not first sit down and count the cost, whether he has enough to complete it? Otherwise, when he has laid a foundation and is not able to finish, all who see it begin to mock him, saying, ‘This man began to build and was not able to finish.’ Or what king, going out to encounter another king in war, will not sit down first and deliberate whether he is able with ten thousand to meet him who comes against him with twenty thousand? And if not, while the other is yet a great way off, he sends a delegation and asks for terms of peace. So therefore, any one of you who does not renounce all that he has cannot be my disciple.
(Luke 14:27-33 ESV)
Following Jesus is NOT an easy road, and it’s not an easy ticket to success and well-being. There are certainly pastors in the world who will teach that Jesus came to give us salvation AND a big wallet, but I would be happy to let them know that they would be wrong. If following Jesus were easy, He could have left out the whole cross affair, but He didn’t. He didn’t withhold Himself from the cross, so why should we? God wants to conform us to the image of His Son, and it starts out by walking the walk of discipleship, the result of which is a life conformed to Christ and a completed good work in you:
And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.
(Philippians 1:6 ESV)