The Process of Discipleship

August 7th, 2014 | John Chandler

At Austin Mustard Seed, we don’t just want to be a “community.” We want to be a community people practicing the way of Jesus. The traditional word for this is “disciple.”

A few weeks back, we introduced some ideas about discipleship from a writer named Dallas Willard. Willard addresses the general lack of discipleship in this article:

If we are Christians simply by believing that Jesus died for our sins, then that is all it takes to have sins forgiven and go to heaven when we die. Why, then, do some people keep insisting that something more than this is desirable? Lordship, discipleship, spiritual formation, and the like?

What more could one want than to be sure of their eternal destiny and enjoy life among others who profess the same faith as they do. Of course everyone wants to be a good person. But that does not require that you actually do what Jesus himself said and did. Haven’t you heard? “Christians aren’t perfect. Just forgiven.”

Many of these ideas were developed in the book Renovation of the Heart. Willard was a teacher of logic and philosophy at the University of Southern California. He was deeply committed to the idea that we could really learn to be more like Jesus.

Willard suggests that we should do “off the spot” training:

I can, while not “on the spot,” retrain my thinking by study and meditation on Christ himself and on the teachings of Scripture about God, his world, and my life— especially the teachings of Jesus in the Gospels, further elaborated by understanding of the remainder of the Bible. I can also help my thinking and my feelings by deep reflection on the nature and bitter outcome of the standard human way in such situations, in contrast to the way of Jesus. I can also consciously practice explicitly “self-sacrificial” actions in other, less “demanding,” situations. I can become a person for whom “looking out for number one” is not the framework of my life.

We’ll never be perfect. But we can become more like Jesus.

Want to practice with us?

Image credit Christianity Today.