In the summer of 1975, I made a decision to accept Christ into my life and to become a disciple of Jesus. It was July 31, to be exact. A night I will never forget and that forever changed my life. I was 14 years old and knew very little theology. I was raised in the Roman Catholic church and knew the basics of the Christian faith…mostly the tenets I learned in my Catechism classes. I knew that God created the world, that Jesus loved us, died for us and was raised again…that I should pray and be as good as I can be. I really didn’t know about the second coming although as I look back I do remember that at Mass we would weekly recite: “Christ has died, Christ has risen, Christ will come again.” My Catholic upbringing was a good foundation that helped prepare me for the day that I would pray “the sinners prayer”. Truth be told, all I knew was that I loved Jesus and wanted to follow Him as best I could. I am glad that God didn’t require me to have it all together, know all the answers or understand the deepest precepts of our theology. I was saved by the love of Jesus and I put my faith in Him. And that faith did not include recognizing the Deity of Christ, deciding if I was more of an Armenian or Calvinist or walking in complete obedience to the laws of God.
I think that is what saved me then…and what saves me now. The love of Jesus. I put my faith in Him, period. And I want to be His follower. After 40 years of being His disciple I am barely scratching the surface. I still don’t know everything, I still don’t have all my theology down, I still have my challenges in living in obedience, I still know that there are no easy answers.
But I know…deep in my heart, that God created the world. I am convinced that Jesus died, not just for me, but for all the world. I believe He actually, bodily resurrected and I am persuaded that there will be a day that He restores heaven and earth. His kingdom will come in all of its fullness.
There are many different ways to define what a disciple of Jesus is. At High Mountain we have used a very simple four part definition: it reads simply: A disciple of Jesus is:
1. One who worships Jesus.
2. One who follows the teachings of Jesus.
3. One who reflects the character of Jesus.
4. One who serves Jesus.
I know this is all subjective and open to interpretation. It is a wide stream that many can find their way into. It is an open invitation to a relationship with Jesus that is manifested in a variety of ways. But it is also narrow enough to make Jesus as the focus and goal of our discipleship.
We may not all agree on all of the doctrines or all interpret all the Scriptures the same way. But like Peter, we are convinced that it is Jesus who is the life giver (John 6:66-69).
From this time many of his disciples turned back and no longer followed him.
“You do not want to leave too, do you?” Jesus asked the Twelve.
Simon Peter answered him, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life. We have come to believe and to know that you are the Holy One of God.”
We are disciples of Jesus. Our hope is in Him…not in ourselves, not in our goodness, not in our doctrines, not in any human being, political system or governing body. As the great hymn states:
“My hope is built on nothing less
Than Jesus blood and righteousness
I dare not trust the sweetest frame
But wholly lean on Jesus name
On Christ The Solid Rock I stand
All other ground is sinking sand
All other ground is sinking sand
What do you think?
How does it make you feel?