I’m surprised how many people are searching for the “12 steps to Discipleship” or the “5 keys to being a follower of Jesus”. We don’t need any gimmicks to learn what it means to be a follower of Jesus. He has already clearly spelled out the process in His Word. The problem is that following Jesus is hard and requires us to make wholesale changes in our lives. That is not the Jesus most people want; they want the Jesus that spares them from spending eternity in Hell, but not much else. For too long, Christianity has been synonymous with inactivity. We have been taught that once we pray the magic prayer, our eternity is covered regardless of whatever we might do from that point forward.
Unfortunately this is not what Scripture teaches. There is a delicate balance between what we must believe and what we must do. Debate has raged for centuries on whether salvation is the result of works or the result of faith. As my friend Dan Miller likes to say, when presented with two options, I prefer to choose the third. Salvation is not by works alone; nor is it achievable by a lip service faith. To receive the salvation of Christ, we must put our faith in Him; if that faith is genuine, it will result in us doing the work He commanded us to do. Salvation is possible only by the grace of God, but is the result of a combination of both faith and works (Ephesians 2:8-10; James 2:14-26).
The arguments that have waged between the ‘faith’ and ‘works ‘crowds have significantly distracted both sides from the true mission of Jesus Christ; while we spend time and resources trying to prop up one side or the other, Satan continues to destroy humanity. How pleased he must be that we continue to distract ourselves from the war at hand by engaging in irrelevant rhetoric in hopes of proving our theology superior to that of another. It’s time to end the petty bickering and turn our focus away from religion and towards our Creator. We are living in exceedingly dark times and it is imperative that we as the light-bearers of God shine as brightly as possible. We will shine brightest when we are moving in unity. A thousand candles moving together are far brighter than ten thousand scattered randomly and moving in different directions.
Paul emphasized unity in his letters (Ephesians 4:1-4; Colossians 3:12-15) because he realized how important it is that followers of Jesus band together to further the mission of Christ; becoming a true follower of Jesus means not only walking in His footsteps, but doing so in unity with others who are walking the same path. We must strengthen one another along the journey, and together we will accomplish exponentially more for the Kingdom of God.
There are many topics that Christians tend to argue about, but the result is always a house divided. We know from history that such a house will not stand. There is one Lord, one faith and one baptism (Ephesians 4:4-6) so we must rally around those things and dispense with our disagreements about everything else. Jesus did not die so that we could spend the rest of our days arguing over the finer points of religious theology. He died so that we might have a life more abundant than we have ever known (John 10:10), and to provide a way to God for those who are far away (John 3:16-17). It’s time to let go of our ridiculous disagreements and join arms in battle. Until we stand in unity, none of us can ever be a true disciple of Jesus. We have a common enemy; let us come together in unity and watch what the Lord will do through His Church.