Christian discipleship involves accepting Christ and following His example.
Discipleship lies at the core of living a Christian life. It;
1. Begins with heartfelt love for God, and love for one’s neighbor similar to ones’ self,
2. Translates into responsive action, and
3. Returns a fulfillment of the heart similar to the “joy of [the] Master”. (See Matthew 25:21,23)
The Christian life involves walking in the shoes of Christ. I John 2 says, “This is how we know we are in him: Whoever claims to live in him must walk as Jesus did.”This could be understood as pretty tough. It implies a righteousness that overwhelms what any person can rightly claim.It implies a lifestyle inconsistent with the social fabric in which we find ourselves. Nevertheless, God graciously blessed us with talents, both gifts of personal character and material empowerment. When we imitate Christ, we invest our talents in response to their entrustment from the Master. We employ them in a manner that reflects our love of others that Christ commands of us. And, we can realize a glimpse of our ultimate reward through the joy that returns to us when we comprehend the results of our extension on behalf of others, especially those not as fortunate.
Christian love begins with our love of the Father, in thankfulness for the love that He first showed us. The Holy Spirit inspires our responsive love, which first translates into a decision, and carries out as passionate caring, empathy and reaching out to those we are able to touch. Christian love emboldens us through our passionate response.It fulfills through activity that elevates one’s interest in another person’s welfare to pinnacles of pride and bulging satisfaction.It exudes not just warm feelings, but actions that reflect its source. It enables our walk in the shoes of Christ.
Therefore, Christian love constitutes stimulus for action.It reflects one’s heart, which assumes pre-eminence over results. Even though “the widow’s mite” represented a relatively small measure of love in human terms, it represented a huge expression of love, from God’s perspective. Therefore, the measure of our love lies not in the change that one sees from a human measurement perspective. Love tape-measures the heart through the love that connects one disciple to another.
Christian love expresses personally. Institutional programs cannot proxy, without personal investment. One’s church cannot substitute. The church can only empower, infuse and help inspire. Attempts to procedurally try to fulfill Christ’s call to imitate Him will generally fall short, if not powered by personal and interpersonal caring and extension.
Alleviation of relief to the poor or any other resulting human measurement of good works lies secondarily to the personal expression of love extended by any disciple. If this were not true, then any governmental, or other secular programs of compassionate relief, could substitute for discipleship or the expression of Christian love. Similarly, any Christian institution’s compassionate relief could substitute for personal discipleship. But that’s not the case. Christian discipleship emanates from individual Christians as the result of the Holy Spirit working through them. Christian neighborly love proceeds in the following order:
- The heart of the Christian, which should be a love of his neighbor,
- The expression of Christian love to those who can benefit from it.
Human measurement, in terms of effectiveness, serves as the trigger for personal satisfaction that reflects the extension of personal love, in the first place. When our neighbor raises up as a result of our extension of love, then we celebrate because we cared, we acted, we realized our reward.
Christian discipleship constitutes walking in the shoes of Christ, reflective of Christ living in us. Discipleship arises from our passionate response to God’s love. It obtains its reward from the satisfaction of realizing that our efforts on behalf of our neighbor make a positive difference. Its extension yields its own reward, which is an entering into the joy of the Master.