2 - Being a disciple of Jesus
I think one of the key things it means for me is focus - it means that I have someone around whom to orient my life, someone who loves me deeply and unconditionally, someone who involves me in a purpose that is much bigger than anything I might choose to get involved in on my own.
It means I don't always (often / ever!) need to know the total picture but to be content to do the things I am called to do.
And, yes, it should mean more - and it continues to mean more as I gain a deeper appreciation of who Jesus is and what he was prepared to do for me.
(Updated 15 minutes later!) Reflecting further on my last sentence it might suggest that this "gaining a deeper appreciation" is a steady, continual process whereas the reality is more that there are many ups and downs along the way with, hopefully, an overall upwards movement!
I think for me at the moment being a disciple is very much an uphill struggle. I sometimes envy 'THE disciples' who had Jesus there teaching them in the flesh and most likely pulling them up on undisciple ish (new word) behaviour. because of work I miss out on a lot of sunday services which i used to find could renew my enthusiasm and help me to keep being a disciple through the week as well as teaching me new stuff in new ways. reading about Jesus sending the disciples out without him is a bit how I felt and have failed miserably. to be a good disciple you need a teacher who you are following, which is of course Jesus but without the easiness of services every sunday and events and housegroups to keep teaching you its easy to feel you are lost when you have to organise your own teachings (if that makes sense).
graham you spoke of focus and we know the focus is Jesus and the teachings of the bible but I think as Christians it is part of our disciple role to help others with their focus too. this group is a brilliant idea to do that.
My time away from regular church has not all been about feeling lost, I have continued to pray and have prayers answered in abundance and have found it even easier to talk about my faith because people can see it more readily in my life.
It would be interesting to know how others maintain or regain that 'focus' in times of church drought or illness or just feeling a bit lost.
Hi all. Jackie I think your comments ring really true for me. Being a disciple to me means being a follower in every part of my life. But I, in the last year in particular, have found I always use general life/busyness gets in the way. On a Sunday or at a group/event being a disciple works but day to day with work, being a mum, a wife etc (all stuff we all deal with) I found that Jesus can slip from being the centre. I have found praying, making notes when reading the bible, listening to Christian music when driving helps me refocus & therefore refer to Him to manage life. Probably more a response to your thoughts Jackie than the original question!
For me being a disciple means to follow the calling and teaching of Jesus. As others have said this can be easier at times than others. I often get so busy and caught up in my own life that following someone else becomes hard, but I'm very aware that my life would be much more calm if I did follow God at all times!
Ruth that is very true, life is very hectic and it can be difficult to see where we can fit God in. Rachel I agree, When I stop and make time for God in a calm and unrushed way, my day is much calmer and the time I spend with God doesn't make me not have time for other things. Quite the opposite I fit things in more calmLy and prioritise. That said even though I know this to be true I still struggle to make time. (One day I will learn)
As for whether I think it should mean more? Definitely and that has to be my aim and what redirects my focus to do well.
I often had the comment 'could do better' in my school reports which you could see as a bit negative that i wasn't trying hard enough. The same goes for following Christ's path, God is saying to me 'you could do better' but not in a negative way in an encouraging way that he knows what I am capable of if I just let him into my whole life.
I also feel that being a disciple is also about discipling others on their journey. (not sure if I just made that word up) I often feel I need to be a bit stronger in my faith and a bit further on my journey before I can help others on theirs. But this is actually not true just asking a question or talking about how your faith is honestly, can help others no matter where they are.
I've found all of your comments really helpful, thank you. For me I think I see two things as being of utmost importance … firstly love, love for God, love for one another, love for the people we know and meet (easy to say, much more difficult to do).
And second, that discipleship is something that we don’t do on our own, I find that I need other people to help me with that. I think we all need to support one another, encourage each other, challenge each other. “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” John 13
However I frequently feel such a failure with this. As we all have said life is busy, we have so many demands on our time, but I know I don’t prioritise my church family like I once did, and while some of the reasons for this are valid I know that some are less so. And as Jackie said, during those times when we are away from church due to work, illness, visiting family etc, I find I can feel quite detached from church, isolated even, and sometimes find it hard to really feel part of the church.
One thing that I have found helpful is keeping a journal, it helps me to focus my thoughts and prayers, and it helps me to look back over a period of time and see the answers to those prayers and the things that God has spoken to me about.
Not sure I've actually answered the question but it's good to be able to share in this way, thank you all.