The Truth About Discipleship

Do you remember your first day of high school? I know I do. I was so excited I picked out my outfit a week before school: oversized pants and a button-up shirt with some clean Nikes. I wanted to give the impression that I belonged in high school. I wanted everyone to know that Micah had arrived. I remember every class I had that day and every teacher. If you put me back at Canyon Springs High School right now, I could take you to every single one of those classes.

I enjoyed my high school years, but I would never have made it my freshman year if it were not for my older sister. She was a senior and was popular partly because that is what we do as Clarks, not to mention she was a phenomenal soccer player. Anyways, my sister saw past my freshman arrogance and stupidity and patiently walked me through the difficulties of high school. She told me which classes to transfer out of and which teachers taught classes worth staying in. Because of her guidance, I learned the art of sweet-talking the lunch lady to hook me up with an extra cookie. Now obviously, I did not take all her advice. However, having someone who was committed to seeing me succeed while equipping me with the tools to stand on my own was a valuable experience for me.

Our walks with Christ are just like this. We come in wide-eyed ready to make a splash, without fully understanding the gravity of the commitment we just created. We get sucked into reading plans or following people that are not helping us grow, or they are introducing us to theology we are not entirely prepared to understand. Therefore, as seasoned believers, it is so essential that we bring these new followers into our communities and help them get planted.

Discipleship is such a necessary aspect of our walks. True discipleship requires discipline and submission, which are not overly exciting but very necessary. In Matthew 28, when we get to the Great Commission, the scripture is not just saying make disciples, and then you are done. It explicitly says , "teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you.” The emphasis is on teaching. It was not enough for my sister to show me how to survive high school; the teaching process began when she walked alongside me each day and checked in on me. As the months went on, her involvement in my understanding faded, but she never left me alone entirely, and I always knew I could bring my issues to her to get her advice.

Obviously, there is a significant difference between my sister guiding me through my first year of high school and helping a new believer, but the heart is the same. Our heart should be to walk alongside those who are new to the faith or going through a rough season. Jesus spent three years walking with the disciples, teaching them, and building relationships with them. While His message was always Hope, He never said following Him would be easy. Our message should be the same. The early Christians knew that living this lifestyle could cost them their lives, yet they chose to pursue it wholeheartedly. Are we willing to do the same?

Believe it or not, that is what LifeFocus is all about—walking with these youth and teaching them to obey all the commands we have been given. I think it is easy to look at teenagers and get annoyed quickly. The attitude. The angst. The fact they think they know EVERYTHING. It is all just a smokescreen, not unlike the one we all used when we were that age. So, I ask you to look past it and engage with them. Discipleship starts at home and gets reinforced at LifeFocus. Like it says in Proverbs, “Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old, he will not depart from it.” My sister was only 17 when she took me under her wing and showed me how to survive in high school. Three years later, when I was 17, my brother got to high school, and I gave him the same lessons she gave me. If a couple of knuckleheaded teenagers could figure out the art of discipleship, there is no telling what a church full of seasoned believers could do.

No Comments