Earlier this week I came across this quote in Christianity Today,
“For too long, we’ve called others to “invite Jesus into your life.” Jesus doesn’t want to be in your life. Your life’s a wreck. Jesus calls you into his life. And his life isn’t boring or purposeless or static. It’s wild and exhilarating and unpredictable.” — Russell D. Moore Christianity Today, February, 2012
How true. As we learn to follow Jesus with our lives our goal is not to somehow get Jesus to join us in what we are doing, our goal is to join in his life… to join in what he is doing. This is what discipleship has been about from the very beginning. The word disciple comes from the Hebrew word, talmid… a word that stresses the relationship between rabbi (teacher or master) and disciple (student). A disciple in Jesus’ day would give up his entire life in order to be with his teacher. The relationship was not simply a means for the teacher to transfer information to the student, because it was not enough just to know what the teacher said. The foremost goal of any disciple was to become like the teacher and do what the teacher did. Listen to how Jesus invited others to be his disciples… to join him in his life:
“Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me-watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.” — Matthew 11:28 (MSG)
This passage from Matthew is just one of many examples of how Jesus invites his followers into this kind life-on-life relationship, and the invitation still stands. This wasn’t just something for those who lived long ago, this is for us too. But there’s more. The commission that Jesus gives to all of us who follow him is to go and make disciples. So, if Jesus made disciples by inviting others into his life, and we are to do as we see Jesus doing, then we have to learn how to invite others into our lives to learn with us as we follow Jesus lead. The apostle Paul put it like this:
Follow my example, as I follow the example of Christ. — 1 Corinthians 11:1 (NIV)
As you consider this, who comes to your mind? Who might you invite to follow you as you learn to follow Jesus? What’s holding you back?