The role of a disciple is to follow:
“And when Jesus got into the boat, his disciples followed him.”
~Matthew 9:23 (NRSV)
But when the disciples followed Jesus into that boat they got more than they bargained for. They hardly expected a windstorm to brew and break over them. It’s the same for us—Jesus’ modern-day disciples. We promise to follow and then, so many times, pull out of our ascent to the Holy Mount, especially when things get hairy.
True believers are not just Spirit-filled, discerning great prophetic Words of God, preaching truth and grace, exemplifying forgiveness, or praying officiously; they follow their Lord. They walk humbly with their God (Micah 6:8). They do the most basic thing, first. They work within their lives toward obedience, as much as they can.
The Most Basic Role – Obedience
The best reflection of smooth grace typifying the most enviable of relationships is the reliability of trust. People who are reliable, those we can trust, are the best to relate with. There’s safety and security locked in. And whilst not everything in such relationships can be enjoyed, at least everything can more easily be endured.
What occurs within the best relationships is the reliability of faithfulness. Loyalty is issued and enjoyed. There is, of a sense, mutual submission. This occurs as much in marriage as any other relationship.
Our relationship with God, and his with us, hinges on such faithfulness. Whilst God’s faithfulness is fundamentally implicit within Divine character, our faithfulness is conditional upon a pure heart and a mind submitted to obedience. We will not be faithful unless we choose to obey the will of God as it attends each moment of our lives. This most basic thing is often the hardest—because it’s wrought in difficulty, morality, and focus.
Following Jesus – In Faith, Purity, And Consciousness
Our obedience is underpinned by the trust implied by our faith to endure through difficulty, our purity in the presence of temptation, and our consciousness where mindfulness is fatigued or otherwise compromised. Obedience is tough.
Following Jesus is not just about being ‘in love’ with our Saviour—as if our relationship with the Lord was romantically based. Such a love wears off when the rub of life contends. Following Jesus is more than emotion or devotion or evangelistic promotion. It’s doing what we’re meant to do. It’s simply that, foremost.
Obedience is a practical commodity. Faith is a doing thing. So, too, is choosing for purity in a crass world. Finally, our conscious focus works for us in wisdom; to follow Jesus only where he would take us.
Being a disciple of Christ’s is much less about biblical knowhow than it is about trusting and obeying God.
© 2012 S. J. Wickham.