First things first: I am a Christian. Yes, I am the believer in the God of all creation. I love Him. More imporantly, He loves me — always has and always will. I believe He sent His Son Jesus to die for me on a cross. I believe that Jesus was sinless, died on a cross for my sins, then rose again three days later and ascended to Heaven to wait for the day that He comes back to call all of His children home. I believe this. I believe that as a Christian there is more than just being a believer — you have to be a follower. I pledged my life to following the commands that Jesus left for us years ago. I give my life away daily to the One who gave His away for me. Well, at least I try — I am human and I fail over and over.
As a Christian, I feel it is acceptable for me to make the following statement: I have a problem with Christians. Yes, I have a problem with them, with us. Here in the Bible Belt I am surrounded by “Christians.” But really, I think I am more surrounded by believers, not followers. My main problem with these Christians that I am around, that I read about, that I hear about is simply this: they have no idea what discipling means.
Hear me out.
Jesus commands us in Matthew 28 to make disciples. Notice, however, He did not say “Go forth and make converts.” No, Jesus tells us to make disciples. This is simply MY opinion, but I don’t think that converts and disciples are the same thing. Additionally, I don’t think Jesus meant for us as Christians to invest in people until they believe, welcome them to the family of God, and then focus our attention on other people who have “not turned away from their sin.” No. That is ridiculous.
Jesus had 12 disciples. Twelve. Not twelve thousand, not twelve hundred, not twenty….twelve. He didn’t just convert His disciples into believing in Him then stop investing in them. He ate with them; He traveled with them; He had long talks with them; He cared for them; He cared about them; He knew all about their lives; He wanted to know all about their lives; He did life with them; He invested His attention and focus in them.
That is my problem with Christians these days: where is the investment? I’m not saying that we as Christians do not make an effort. It seems you cannot turn a corner without hearing about a Bible study or a gathering from some kind of campus ministry or a meal being provided from this church or that one. Those are all great, really, they are. BUT, what about when that event is over? What about the rest of each person’s life outside those two hours that has been a planned event for “discipling”?
I’m not trying to say that we should stop spreading the Gospel and converting people to knowing the love and truth that resides in the story of Christ. I am most certainly NOT saying that. Giving people the Truth and showing them the way to Jesus is what we’re called to do, but our calling does not stop there. As a Christian, you should disciple one another. You shouldn’t let your investment stop at the door of sanctuary or when the Bible study night ends. Jesus didn’t. If you want to be a true Christian, follow Him. Follow Him in discipleship. He had tweleve disciples. He did life daily with twelve. He knew their lives, their hopes, their dreams, their desires, their fears, their attitudes — He knew them.
We’re not Jesus. Twelve is a lot for us. Jesus was sinless, thus not selfish or self-centered. Each of us are both by nature. So instead of twelve, why don’t you pick one or two? One or two individuals that know and believe in the grace of God. Teach them His commands, show them His love, encourage, rebuke, share with them. Do life with them.
Have you moved on to “more sinful” people once you deduce your friend believes in God and loves Him? Do you neglect those closest to you because you know “he/she and God are good”? Stop it. Make disciples. Be a disciple. Invest continually.
This is my problem with Christians. This is my problem with myself. Here’s to making disciples and not converts, to investing in people and not projects….cheers!