I noticed that when Jesus called out His Disciples He simply said, “Follow me…”. He made no promises. As a matter of fact the only promise he made was something rather strange. He said, “Follow me and I will make you fishers of men.” He made this promise to men that made their living from catching fish. How were they supposed to make a living fishing for men? He gave no bribe or offered any other incentive. He didn’t even tell them who He was. All these men left their businesses, families, communities and followed this man who they did not know by natural means or seen before. But something about Him stirred their heart and drew them to Him.
Today people want promises of a life of ease on a white bread cul-de-sac that comes without trouble or offense. They want their lives to be so perfect that their lawn will only grow 2 inches and stop. They want a church with a cool pastor, slamming worship music, a coffee shop and man made programs that will fill every their every social need like a country club. There’s all these “I wants” or “I need”. For these fishermen, tax collectors, doctors, zealots (terrorist) and others all they new is that they wanted to be near this man because He was of a different Spirit and they wanted to learn from Him.
To follow Christ also means following those He has set on the earth to prepare His people. Some folks say, “I can follow Jesus without following man.” Good luck with that. That unteachable spirit will get you no where and will lead you to a life of pride far from God. I understand that there are leaders in the Body Christ who are not doing right. That’s why Paul said, “Pattern yourselves after me [follow my example], as I imitate and follow Christ (the Messiah).” 1 Corinthians 11:1 (AMP). If the leader is not imitating and following Christ don’t follow him. It’s really that simple.
Many people in the Body of Christ wind up under leaders with a Saul spirit instead of one with a heart like David that is always following after God. Please understand that it doesn’t mean that the man of God will not have weaknesses or failings. It means that he will always have a humble heart to submit to Father in what ever state he finds himself.
11 And He Himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers, 12 for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ, 13 till we all come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ; 14 that we should no longer be children, tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, in the cunning craftiness of deceitful plotting, 15 but, speaking the truth in love, may grow up in all things into Him who is the head—Christ— 16 from whom the whole body, joined and knit together by what every joint supplies, according to the effective working by which every part does its share, causes growth of the body for the edifying of itself in love. Ephesians 4:11-16
The Five Fold Ministry gifts of Apostle, Pastor, Prophet, Teacher and Evangelist are there to prepare the Church for Her destiny. They are there to lead the Church under the authority of Christ to press Father’s will on earth as it is in heaven. The Lord Himself set these gifts in His Church. If you got a problem with them take it up with Him. He is quick to correct those who He calls to lead His people because they are held to a higher accounting.
If you attend a Church because of what man can give you you will miss what God has for you. Every time you attend a gathering of believers look “for” and “to” God not man. But understand that elders are there because God wants them there and even among them there is leadership. Peter was the leader of the Church in Jerusalem. Paul lead and regulated every Church the Lord had him plant.
Followership Requires Believing.
To be a disciple means believing in Jesus Christ.
First and most obvious is believing the facts as stated in the Word of God about Jesus. The simplest statement of facts in believing is found in I Corinthians 15:3-4, “Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, he was buried, he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures.” But, there’s more to it than that. To be a disciple is to truly believe that Jesus is all the Bible teaches He is. He is supernatural. He is the Son of God. He was born of a virgin. He is the only way to the Father. He can do anything.
True disciples always go beyond mental ascent and emotional affirmation. True belief is not about feelings. It’s about using your Holy will to allow your spirit man to guide you instead of your soul (mind, will and emotions). You don’t just think or just feel your belief in Jesus, you walk them out. However, your emotions will follow where your faith leads your spirit. Your emotions follow because they are a part of you. When your emotions are in subjection to your spirit man the augment our walk of faith not hinder it. I would dare say where there is no emotions concerning our belief there is also no passion to follow through. When I believe in a surgeon, in a political party, in a financial decision—I feel it in ways I cannot intellectually describe.
Feelings are not contrary to intellect but they certainly are different.
Several years ago I talked with a man whose engagement was recently broken. When I asked him what happened he said, “It was logical for us to get married but we didn’t feel anything for each other.” I’m glad they broke up.
When I married Diane I truly believed it was the smartest choice I could make. It made sense. But it was also a matter of the heart and my will. I felt a passion and commitment to her that caused me to pledge the rest of my life to her no matter what.
Do you believe in Jesus? Are you convinced He is the Son of God who died on the cross and rose from the dead? Do you feel for Him? Is His desires as important to as your own? Is there an emotional attachment, a passion, an attraction, a desire, and an indescribable connection of the heart? Do you choose him over all others? Do you want to follow him. Do you want to give your life to him? Do you want to belong to him?
Maybe you respond by thinking, “I’m not quite sure. I guess I’m more of a fringe believer, a partial believer, an almost-disciple.” Well then let me ask you—would you like to be a true believer? Would you like to totally commit yourself to someone other than yourself? Would you like to believe so much, so big, so passionately, so completely that you become a fully committed disciple of Jesus?
That’s the choice for each of us to make. To choose to believe in something and someone greater than ourselves. To go beyond reason and experience, to believe with all our being. It is called faith. Faith is an all-out total belief of everything we are and have.
Followership Requires Loving
Followership is believing but followership is also loving. Jesus called his disciples to the highest, greatest, most intense love when he said, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.” (Matthew 22:37).
To be a disciple is to love Jesus Christ. Love is beyond an adequate definition but we all know what it means. To love is to believe in, but its more than that. Love is deep feelings, deep commitment, deep care and concern.
If someone you love is in a group photograph, she or he is the person you first look to see. If someone you love speaks, you are quick to listen. When you are away from the person you love, he/she keeps coming to your thoughts. When you love someone, that person’s feelings, thoughts, touch, and presence are more important to you than anything else.
As a disciple of Jesus Christ I often say, “Jesus I love you.” Sometimes those are my first conscious words in the morning. Words of love to Jesus are part of my daily prayers. When I hear others swear his name or speak unkindly about him I feel myself getting defensive—because I love him. When I ignore him, displease him, hurt his feelings, I feel lousy—because I love him. What He says and thinks and feels is all-important to me because I love Him.
A disciple loves Jesus. A disciple loves with all his heart and soul and mind.
Do you love Jesus like that? Would you like to love Him that way?
I want to show you a promise from the Bible, but something needs to be said first. When you truly love someone, you don’t focus on what you’ll get out of it. Parents don’t love their babies with the expectation that they will take care of them when they are old. That may happen but that’s not the way true love works. When we love God we love God just for Himself. We love Him if everything goes right and we love Him if everything goes wrong. We just love Him.
But there is an astonishing benefit nonetheless. Romans 8:28 says, “We know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” God works for good in the lives of everyone who loves him—what a spectacular promise and benefit!
A disciple of Jesus Christ believes and loves and obeys. Jesus said in John 14:18, “If you love me you will obey what I command.” I John 5:3 explains that, “This is love for God: to obey his commands.”
The Lord once spoke to my heart and said, “Son the reason I require your obedience is that your obedience is the only thing you truly own. Everything else I have provided to include even the very breath that fill your lungs. That is how I know you truly love Me because you are giving Me the one thing that is truly and absolutely your own. Your willing obedience is to Me the most perfect worship.”
To be a disciple of Jesus means that I truly follow Him. I do what He wants. I go where He sends. I’m committed to doing things His way. As a disciple I choose to behave like Jesus whether I feel like it or not. I obey what Jesus says about prayer, forgiving others, sexual activity, helping the poor, managing money, treating other Christians, baptism, church involvement, and everything else.
If I don’t do what Jesus says, I’m not Jesus’ disciple.
The problem is that even the best of disciples don’t always do what they’re supposed to do. Does that mean that anyone who fails is not a disciple? Isn’t that too high a standard? Isn’t it impossible to really be a Christian? In the same verse of I John 5:3 that tells us to obey God’s commands we are also told that God’s “commands are not burdensome.”
How does that work? Let’s listen to some of Jesus’ last words in Matthew 28:19-20. “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.”
To be a disciple is to be taught to obey all Jesus says. A disciple is someone who commits to obey and then spends a lifetime learning what that means.
A disciple is committed to do whatever Jesus says about being baptized, although that person may not yet know what Jesus says about being baptized. A disciple is someone who promises in advance to handle money the way Jesus wants money to be handled, although it may take some learning to really know. A disciple is like a soldier who has pledged to obey every order of a superior officer when the battle begins but probably won’t know what those orders are until after the battle starts.
Let’s put it all together. God leads with His love, grace and Jesus. We follow with our belief, love, and obedience.
There are some days when I think I am a fully committed follower of Jesus. I believe with my mind, emotions, and will. I love Him with all my heart. I promise I will do whatever He asks me to do without hesitation or reservation.
There are other days when I’m not so sure. I have my doubts. I’m a lousy lover. I am prone to disobey.
Whatever I have or haven’t been in the past, I choose to be Jesus’ disciple today and forever. Will you join me in that commitment? Will you affirm your absolute belief in Jesus? Will you commit to love Jesus with all your heart, soul and mind? Will you promise to obey him completely?
I invite you to quietly bow your heads and close your eyes and talk to God. Reflect briefly on whether or not you are a fully committed follower of Jesus Christ and if you want to be.
If you mean it, pray this short prayer: “Father, I choose to be Jesus’ disciple. 100%. Without reservation. I believe in Jesus as my Savior from sin. I love Jesus with all my heart, soul, and mind. I will obey whatever you ask me to do. I promise this in Jesus’ name. Amen.”
“Lord God, you have heard the prayers of our hearts. You have promised good to all who love and follow you. Accept our commitment. Teach us what you want. Transform us. Let us see the miracles in our lives that come from being fully committed disciples of Jesus Christ. Amen.”
The scripture above is my true north when it comes to my writings. I have always been told to write books and sell them. But most of what I write has to do with the Word of God and therefore they are not my own revelation. My writings come from revelation given to me as I search out the Word of God by the Spirit of God. They are the “children’s bread” (Matthew 15:26). I believe that this bread should be given out freely so that my Father’s children, my brother’s and sisters are fed, nurtured and strengthened. For that reason this blog as well as others have been created.
Concerning the things that pertain to this life I trust the Lord and His Word:
Cast your bread upon the waters, for you will find it after many days. Ecclesiastes 11: 1
For the Scripture says, “Do not muzzle an ox while it is treading out the grain,” and, “The worker is worthy of his wages.” 1 Timothy 5:18
Take no bag for the road, or second tunic, or sandals, or staff; for the worker is worthy of his provisions. Matthew 10:10
If we have sown spiritual seed among you, is it too much for us to reap a material harvest from you? 1 Corinthians 9:11
One who is taught the word must share all good things with the one who teaches. Do not be deceived: God is not mocked, for whatever one sows, that will he also reap. For the one who sows to his own flesh will from the flesh reap corruption, but the one who sows to the Spirit will from the Spirit reap eternal life. And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up. So then, as we have opportunity, let us do good to everyone, and especially to those who are of the household of faith. Galatians 6:6-10
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For King and Kingdom,
Pastor Marcos DeSouza
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