And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” (Matthew 28:18-20 ESV)
The most interesting thing about the Great Commission is that it does not command us to make converts of Christianity or to bring people inside the walls of a church to become members. We are called to make disciples of Jesus Christ as He modeled in the Holy Scriptures.
Often people confuse making and disciples with making converts and understanding this difference is crucial.
Converts follow a system. Disciples follow a Person.
Converts build Christendom. Disciples build the Kingdom of God.
Converts embrace rituals. Disciples embrace a way of life.
Converts love conversion. Disciples love transformation.
The great commission has nothing to do with being in the ‘church’ but everything to do with Being the church, the Bride of Christ that Jesus has called us to become.
Discipleship is a lifestyle, a way of living, which takes place on a moment by moment basis, by centering ourselves in Christ and in practicing the spiritual disciplines of our Faith walk, on a daily basis, with intentionality.
Disciples model this lifestyle, in the flux of life, and their faith does not become separated or compartmentalized based on where we are or with whom they are spending time with.
In being Christ’s disciple, our lives need to slow down, taking on a paced way of being, where we are able to spend attentive time with people as Jesus did with his disciples, on a one to one basis, and in small groups where we live in community with one another.
It requires us to gather together with other believers, in a regular fashion, outside of any ‘institutional church’, or Faith-Based fellowship. It is when we enter into one another’s lives, showing a vulnerability in being open, being honest with ourselves and each other, where we learn to love, trusting one another, where our lives show an integral interest in the sincere caring and concern for one another, where we learn to be true disciples of Christ.
God is personal and relational with us as individuals, meeting us right where we are, so it is in our relationships where His Holiness cuts, prunes, and further washes away our fleshly habits and impurities we as humans have within us.
Christ manifests Himself in His fullness in the midst of our relationships, calling us into the depth, width and height of His Love. He calls us to a nearer walk with Him, as we enter into deeper, more committed relationships with one another, as we learn together, how to love and be a Christian.
It is in becoming vulnerable in opening up those spaces within ourselves where we touch each other’s hearts with the humanity given to us in Christ, where we learn to bear our sisters and brothers burdens, where we learn to be encouraging, supportive, lifting up and edifying one another as we walk in fellowship, spurring each other onward in being the true followers of His ways.
Disciples model a lifestyle in living, breathing, and being Christ in everyday life to all of whom we encounter. It is being Christ to the poor, to the outcast, to the widows, to those lonely, to those isolated, to the mentally and/or physically challenged, to the sick, the differently abled, and to All we meet, not discriminating, ignoring or rejecting, but embracing. Living as Christ’s disciples calls us to Embrace Everyone we encounter with the same Compassion and Love Christ embraced us with.
Disciples are not part of the ‘Christian Club’ where you must have things to buy your way into some elite group, or are told to give, give, give to support a churches’ commitments. If the Lord leads you to give to any cause, then this is whose voice you should be listening to in following as He leads you in regards to financial matters.
It is not about having the proper housing, the right car, material goods, or prestige as a leader, although many profess it is, saying they have these things as God’s blessings. How many scriptures speak to the issue that the root of all evil is the love of money.
What do scriptures speak about when concerning God’s house being one of prayer, not one where financial transactions take place and where people profit off the backs of the poor, due to manipulation of quoting well-timed scriptures before the offering.
True disciples pour out from the depths of their lives, daily, onto others, regardless of who they are, regardless of how others view them, regardless of receiving judgements, regardless of being ostracized by the religious sects at work today, and when they give, they do so out of an obedience to God, and not falling prey to man’s doctrine to give.
Disciples live to Please God in All matters, in All situations, and with All interactions with any person, in any church, or with any ‘spiritual leader’. Many pastors/leaders do not have it all together, nor do they know everything, nor are they always right about their teachings, decisions, and/or actions taken.
We have been given God’s Spirit to discern the way ourselves, which includes sifting anyone’s teaching through His Holy wisdom, making sure our flesh is not biasing the spirit’s calling in our lives, and aligning with God’s Truth and His Word with all persons, no matter who they are or who people make them out to be.
We willingly remain open to correction, instruction in righteousness in our continuing path towards growing in developing our spiritual maturity and ability to discern what and who is of God and what and who is not, for our own protection. So, it becomes necessary, we remain walking and abiding in God’s Spirit of truth, relying on Him to guide us into the truth.
We need to be intentional about pursuing God, in daily practicing our Faith walk, incorporating those things that feed our spirit. Each of us need to be contemplatively and meditatively reading the scriptures ourselves, hiding His word in our hearts, guarding our minds, and standing firm, so we know His promises and what the truth is in regards to the way of Christ.
It becomes necessary for us to set apart alone time, shutting out all distractions, entering into the sacred space of Holies of Holies, touching the hem of our Father’s garments in Christ, communing in Him, learning to be still in order to know Him and His voice. It is in His presence He draws us nearer to His throne of Mercy, showering us with His goodness, His faithfulness, filling us with His all-encompassing love.
It is in these spaces we create where we become intimate with our Father God, where our desire is to be with Him, where we hunger in eager anticipation of being alone in Him, not requesting, not asking for anything, just being in Him, with Him, near Him.
Our spiritual lives require that we become centered in praying in all situations, ceaselessly, interceding for others, as prayer changes our hearts, prayer changes our perspective, prayer leads us deeper into the things of God. So dear to our hearts is prayer, that it becomes our first response when we enter into administering the Grace of God in our lives to those we cross paths with.
Prayer becomes the foundational basis we lay on, in which our Faith is activated by the power that is released when the Spirit is loosed into the lives of those we intercede on behalf of. Prayer becomes a way to subsist in our Faith, as we rely on the supernatural entities God sends forth, fighting battles, on our behalf to actively accomplish those works He has purposed to be fulfilled in and accomplished through our obedience and servitude in Him.
Our purposed participation in worshiping Him, no matter what we feel, no matter what situation we find ourselves enduring, sparks the flames of fire within our hearts, for when we lift our hearts in gratitude and thanksgiving towards Him, He lifts us up in the Heavenly Realms, where our oppression from those things of this world become strangely dim and we partake of His glories, where our hearts’ only desire is to be in Him all our days.
We are to be Radically Different when we become Christ’s Disciples, having no place where we compromise, no place where we give in, standing firm in Him, as He gives us ability, as we seek to become conformed in all our manners and ways to His way of living, incorporating our entire hearts and being, in dedicated consecration of a holiness unto Him.
Communities centered around this mission are the heart of what God has called His Church to be and do. Time to be discerning folks and follow The Christ as He has called us to be culturally different, not aligning with society’s norm of Christianity, but the one Jesus modeled as written in the Holy Scriptures.
So, until that day we are ushered into our final dwelling place with Him, let us continue to be about our Father’s business, pursuing the way of Christ’s cross, clothing our inner persons in all manner of Godliness, making our Faith walk an intentionally purposed practice in our daily regimen, so we can grow and mature as the spiritual offspring of Christ’s Life, whose blood was shed that we could be reconciled to Him in all eternity, and we could be participators of His Glorious Kingdom on earth, through His supernatural empowerment of His Holy Spirit.
Lorraine Taylor – Lay Minister
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