People spend a lot of time and energy trying to figure out what is necessary to be a disciple of Jesus Christ. Plans are developed. Whole books and workbooks are written. How do we capture the essence of true discipleship to make sure we’ve got it right, and by implication, that God will be pleased with us?
They try to think of every situation that may arise and write a plan for it. They pour themselves into many activities in order to build a spiritual resume–although their busyness does not always [produce lasting fruit.
I remember a college student I knew who had a schedule for every minute in the day of what he planned to do for Jesus. He also had checklists to make sure that he had covered a broad range of discipleship activities from Bible study to outreach to mentoring to evangelism; at the same time having an elaborate prayer list which he was constantly checking to see if he covered everyone and writing a note of the results of those prayers.
I know of Christians who are so concerned that they do the right thing in the right way that they are reluctant to follow the promptings of the Holy Spirit. I also know others who fear that if they plan anything they will interfere with the Spirit’s work. Persons who believe authentic faith is always connected to an emotional high and enthusiasm, and others who believe that you have to have an elaborate reason or proof text to any position or action.
For many of these people there is no joy to their salvation – only feelings of inadequacy or guilt when they don’t measure up. There is no peace because they live in fear that God will change the game plan.
The bottom line is this – love God with every ounce or your being and love God by loving your neighbor as God loves them (starting with yourself.) That is the bottom line. It is that simple. It is not rocket science.
It’s living by grace in the power of God motivated by His unconditional love.
(C) 2011 by Stephen L. Dunn