The pursuit of God is not a part-time, weekend exercise… Abiding requires a kind of staying power. The pursuit is relentless. It hungers and thirsts. It pants as the deer after the mountain brook. It takes the kingdom by storm… The pursuit of God is a pursuit of passion. Indifference will not do. To abide in the Word is to hang on tenaciously. A weak grip will soon slip away. Discipleship requires staying power. We sign up for duration. We do not graduate until heaven. R.C. Sproul
The bible is very clear about what it means to be a disciple. “If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me.” (Matthew 16:24) A disciple of Jesus Christ is a follower first and we cannot ‘disciple’ until we have learned to ‘follow’. Discipleship is embedded in following. Inevitably, when we are following, we are also discipling.
One of the most vital conditions of the heart of a disciple must be that of mercy. We cannot follow the Merciful Savior without being greatly impacted by His grace. It is this ‘costly grace’ that we then clothe ourselves with as we teach others to follow. Deitrich Bonhoeffer professes in The Cost of Discipleship; “These men without possessions or power, these strangers on earth, these sinners, these followers of Jesus, have in their own life with Him renounced their own dignity, for they are marked by mercy. As if their own needs and their own distress were not enough, they take upon themselves the distress and humiliation of others. They have an irresistible love for the down-trodden, the sick, the wretched, the wronged and the outcast.”
It is a glorious calling to be a disciple. For men, it is likened unto the sharpening of iron, tools becoming effective and useful for the edification of church and family. For women, it is that great duty- not just to teach the younger but to live out the virtues of self control, purity, kindness and subjection to their husbands. It is a grand commission to cultivate a life-giving culture through mentoring and discipleship.
A flourishing church is a church that takes the Great Commission to its very core. “Thriving churches have the Great Commission as the centerpiece of their vision, while dying churches have forgotten the clear command of Christ’. Thom Rainer