When I was growing up, it seemed like the term discipleship was a simplistic “catch all” phrase for anything to do with “church stuff.” Unfortunately, the absence of intentional discipleship in my life set me up for failure later on when I joined the military after high school. You can hear my story in the About section of this site.
One particular struggle I faced when God awakened me to my need to more intentionally follow Him was a feeling that there was no one to really show me the way. I knew I should be reading my Bible, going to church and doing other “Christiany things,” but I had no idea what it looked like to really put my faith into daily practice. I had no accountability partner, no real Christian friends, and from where I sat, it felt like God had used one random person to call me out for a lack of authenticity in my faith, but He didn’t bother to send anyone to really show me how to walk.
In those early days of what I call my path to discipleship, I felt lonely, confused, frustrated and hopeless. Chances are there are many others who have experienced such emotions along their journey of faith. As more and more people catch a vision for intentional discipleship, there is, no doubt, a shortage of fully mature disciples equipped and willing to help show us the way.
Nevertheless, God has not left us void of instruction and encouragement. The following passage is one such word of encouragement God gave me during this season of my life. Hopefully, it will equally encourage others as well:
The sick man answered Him, “Sir, I have no man to put me into the pool when the water is stirred up, but while I am coming, another steps down before me.” Jesus said to him, “Get up, pick up your pallet and walk (Jn. 5:7-8).”
An unfortunate byproduct of the lack of intentional discipleship over the years has been young men and women seemingly left to their own devices to figure out first, how to live as a disciple of Christ and secondly, how to reproduce themselves in the lives of others. It seems at times, we’ve really been left with no man to help…
If you can relate at all to the sentiments I’ve shared thus far, perhaps this same question has also entered your mind a time or two in the past, “when will someone show up who can help me move forward?” Perhaps you’ve found yourself asking this question more recently than you’d care to admit.
To be clear, it’s helpful to have a Paul to lead us, a Barnabas to share the journey with and a Timothy to teach along the way, but it’s not a Paul, a Barnabas or a Timothy who we need.
We need Jesus. And Jesus stands in our midst patiently waiting for us to realize this truth.
Yes, we’re instructed to encourage each other, care for one another, and hold each other accountable. These are all very good things that you should receive as you engage in Christian fellowship with other believers. Yet when these cold and gloomy days of spiritual isolation rear their ugly heads, don’t succumb to the temptation to sit idly by waiting on someone else to come along and pick you up.
Jesus is standing here with you, calling you to get up and walk, calling you… to Himself.
“Get up, pick up your pallet and walk.”