The C3 June theme is “Called to Disciple”, which is a subject that is near and dear to my heart. You could observe as a Christian that we have abandoned discipleship in lieu of salvation based on the focused activity of saving souls. However, “The Great Commission” states that we should make disciples according to Matthew 28:18-20, “Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore, go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely, I am with you always, to the very end of the age”.
When I think about discipleship and align it with the Bible, I see that discipleship should be a lifestyle, not just a program that is offered. Let me share some of my story so you can see how this played out in my life and how God used the good, bad, and ugly to draw me into an intimate relationship with Him.
A Religious Foundation
I was raised in a “Christian” home and we went to church every time the doors were opened. I could quote scripture, knew all about the Bible, and accepted Jesus as my savior early in life. However, what I saw inside of my house did not align with the behavior we displayed outside of our house. My father was a deacon in the church, but behind closed doors he was physically and verbally abusive and I didn’t see anything attractive about Christianity. It appeared to be about a multitude of do’s and don’ts that were lived out by few. I guess you could say I received a double dose of religion and minimal understanding of relationship.
I then spent the next 20 years successfully chasing all the world has to offer and the more I achieved the larger the void inside of me became. Throughout this journey I wanted nothing to do with religion. I had started an engineering company and had successfully grown the company to multiple locations in the southeast and in 1995 attended a Promise Keepers conference in Atlanta, Georgia with one of my engineers and 65,000 other men. It was there that my eyes were opened to the Truth of Jesus and I started on a journey of developing a relationship with the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit that continues today.
I understand why many today turn away from traditional religion and why we see Christianity having a minimal impact in our culture today. This is frustrating for me because religion does not paint a clear picture about what a relationship with our Creator produces and the love He has for us. So where does discipleship begin?
Being a Disciple
In order to disciple others and fulfill The Great Commission we must first be a disciple. We cannot give something away that we do not have, so in order to make disciples, we must first be a disciple. Jesus defined a disciple as one who picks up their cross and follows Him. He also stated that His disciples hear His voice and follow Him, which requires us to not only know about Jesus but to have a relationship with Him.
Being an effective disciple also means we reflect Jesus in all we do, not just on Sunday. The Apostle Paul states in Colossians 3:23 that “Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not human masters”. So if you are a business owner, alliance (non-profit) leader, church leader, or individual that works for others or in the home, you are to reflect Jesus in each environment in which you are placed. When we adopt this view our perspective shifts and realize we are temples of the Holy Spirit wherever we are placed. We also realize our responsibility to disciple and influence others on the journey.
Being a Disciple Maker
Discipleship is more about showing and modeling than it is telling. People today do not need another sermon, they need to see the love, grace, and mercy of Jesus in action and innovative solutions that display the attributes of our Heavenly Father. When we apply this to our lives beginning with ourselves, spouse, children, family, workplace, church, community, and beyond, we begin to display an authentic, simple, and practical view of Jesus that the world is hungry for. To be an effective disciple maker, we must first be an effective disciple. To accomplish this, I must have a personal relationship with Jesus, be a student of the Bible, and allow the Holy Spirit to develop me into the person I was created to be. My identity must come from my Creator, not the world or others that are trying to shape me.
Reflecting on my story, I see many years that were misguided because of the picture that was painted was of religion, not of an authentic relationship with Jesus. When I saw clearly who Jesus was and the beauty of a relationship with Him, I was fully committed and ready to begin my life-long journey with Him. I had heard many sermons and had seen the misalignment between religion and relationship, but when I had my eyes opened to the Truth and experienced a true relationship with Jesus, there was nothing that could stand in the way of my commitment to Him.
Encourage Others on the Journey
This month please join me as I renew my commitment to be a disciple and to disciple others. The Apostle Paul exhorts us in Galatians 6:9, “Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up”. So, let us grow daily in our relationship with Jesus and equip and encourage those in our circle of influence to do the same. When we do this, we will contribute to unifying Christians and transforming our communities.
To get more information and join the South Carolina Christian Chamber of Commerce (SC-C3) movement, go to www.sc-c3.org and become a member today!
Jamie Jordan is the State Director for the South Carolina Christian Chamber of Commerce (SC-C3). His passion is to see unity and excellence exhibited within the Christian community. Jamie can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.