Two Characteristics of Disciples

I rise before dawn and cry for help; I hope in your words.  My eyes are awake before the watches of the night, that I may meditate on your promise (Psalm 119:147-148).

Keep steady my steps according to your promise, and let no iniquity get dominion over me (Psalm 119:133).

I recently posted a quote on Facebook from Tim Keller that read: “Christianity isn’t something you add. It is an explosion that changes everything you had.” In other words, following Christ can’t be an addition to your life. It is your life.

I don’t see a person in the Bible who is both a follower of Christ and who is apathetic about following Christ. You just don’t find it. The verses above from the Psalms speak to me in two ways: 1) Following God means I rearrange my schedule to sit at his feet. 2) Following God means I hate my sin. It seems to me that this is a snapshot of the life of the disciple.

Dallas Willard wrote, “In the heart of a disciple there is a desire, and there is a decision or settled intent” to follow Jesus at all costs. He went on to say: “[I]f we really do intend to be like Christ, that will be obvious to every thoughtful person around us, as well as to ourselves.” I got to thinking: Is it obvious to every thoughtful person around me that I’m a disciple of Christ? What about the wonderful people in my church?

We’re all familiar with Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s book The Cost of Discipleship, but what about Willard’s article “The Cost of Nondiscipleship”? Here’s a summary: “In short, the cost of nondiscipleship costs you exactly the abundance of life Jesus said he came to bring (John 10:10). The cross-shaped yoke of Christ is after all an instrument of liberation and power to those who live in it with him and learn the meekness and lowliness of heart that brings rest to the soul.”

This isn’t meant to scare you into becoming a disciple of Christ. I don’t believe I can scare anyone into becoming anything. I’m simply probing: Has your relationship with Christ rearranged everything in your life?

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