I know, some of you want to accuse me of being a universalist. That’s okay.
The reality is that we are all disciples, regardless of what our relationship with God is. How can I say that?
Because we’re all learning life from some source.
None of us are original, honestly. We’re all taking our cues from someone or something regarding the best way to conduct ourselves and deal with situations.
If you are a disciple of someone, you learn how to form your life in their mold. But you won’t get extras.
If you’re a disciple of Beethoven, you may learn music but you won’t learn interstate commerce laws.If you’re a disciple of LeBron James, you’ll learn a lot about basketball but probably nothing about knitting or astrophysics (I could be wrong. Just a guess.)
The reason I say this is because there seems to be a divide between being a Christian and being a disciple of Jesus. There are highly visible Christian leaders saying all kinds of things about this divide, but I want to say one very concise thing:
We are becoming whatever it is we have intentionally chosen to be discipled by.
If we are Christians (i.e. had a religious experience or belong to a church, etc.) and haven’t intentionally decided to become like Jesus, then we shouldn’t expect to be Christians for very long. Nor should we expect to learn what eternal life really looks like.
I run into this often, what Dallas Willard calls the “cost of non discipleship” – essentially the truth that if you are a Christian but are being discipled by someone other than Jesus, you shouldn’t expect to live that eternal-quality life. You should expect boredom. Constant restlessness. Self-inflicted pain.
Or even worse, we should expect nothing to happen at all.
Am I saying people won’t “go to heaven” or aren’t “saved”? Not at all. That isn’t my jurisdiction anyway. I’m okay with that.
What I’m saying is that Christianity without discipleship to Jesus creates the need to invest heavy amounts of time learning how to deal with the fact that our life doesn’t match any of the promises Jesus gives throughout the Scriptures.
“Come to me…and I will give you rest…”Why don’t I feel rested?Because you aren’t learning from Jesus what it looks like to live the kind of life that gives you rest.
In other words, we may say we are a “little Christ” but are we being discipled into a life that runs counter or away from Him and is becoming something entirely different altogether?
You are a disciple, no doubt. But of whom? And where does non-discipleship to Jesus really lead?The answer to this question may answer many, many others.