Oh the mystery!

What we see from the ancient records of His first and closest inner circle of disciples is really remarkable. When each of these believers accepted the call to follow Jesus and His seemingly difficult expectations, through their relationship with Jesus unknowingly set a course for the mystery to be revealed in themselves! Each one later went on to change the world for Christ. Through their faith they were bearing the fruit of Christ leading to the kind of works and ministry that really counted for something and caused the church to grow exponentially! Jesus’ will, character and resurrection life grew within them!

This mysterious, dynamic relationship that transformed these early followers is no different for you and me today. The same exact relationship is available for every believer. For the few who accept this call, they find that they were created for this purpose, to live out that redeemed, transformed, victorious life, to have the Spirit of the One they follow more fully formed within themselves! In this mysterious relationship, a disciple’s “dying” becomes the kind of living that could never be realized without Jesus. And it’s not a grave-lingering religious life. This is truly the Goodbye-to-Hello life!

So what about you? Jesus won’t pressure or manipulate you into following Him. He won’t give you a guilt trip or shame you for your past. He doesn’t want robots or superficial followers. He doesn’t need your religious behavior or your good works. He simply asks you to follow, and it’s your decision. Some believers refer to this as being called to discipleship, and that it is. But it’s still your choice, and indeed a very important and consequential one that will change your life forever, starting here and now, right where you are.

As an important clarification, the term “following” can be understood different ways. During the time that Jesus Christ was in His public ministry, there were swarms of followers. Yet many of those followers were not actually committed to discipleship. The New Testament often distinguishes disciples from members of the crowds who “followed” Jesus because of his miracles and free meals! Disciples certainly were followers of Jesus, but not all followers were disciples. If you look at the accounts in scripture where there were “multitudes” following Jesus around the countryside, there isn’t any indication that the commitment of these followers lasted any longer than the immediate circumstance. In other words, their interest in Jesus generally did not rise to the level of commitment that comes with discipleship. The same is still true today.

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