By Pastor Wilson Lim
One cannot be a true disciple unless one is committed to the Lordship of Christ.
More than an admirer
Otherwise, a person is really only an admirer who admires and esteems Christ enough to perhaps take upon some aspects of the teachings of Christ. Yet when the crunch occurs, when high personal cost is involved, they abandon ship, so to speak. When following Christ is no longer convenient, when it means giving up of their personal agenda, they walk away.
Jesus sifted the true disciples from the admirers when He taught about being the Bread of Life. Jesus taught in such a way that it caused offense to them, possibly because it seemed ridiculous to their ears.
John 6:60 – 66 (NIV)
60 On hearing it, many of his disciples said, “This is a hard teaching. Who can accept it?”
61 Aware that his disciples were grumbling about this, Jesus said to them, “Does this offend you?
62 What if you see the Son of Man ascend to where he was before!
63 The Spirit gives life; the flesh counts for nothing. The words I have spoken to you are spirit and they are life.
64 Yet there are some of you who do not believe.” For Jesus had known from the beginning which of them did not believe and who would betray him.
65 He went on to say, “This is why I told you that no one can come to me unless the Father has enabled him.”
66 From this time many of his disciples turned back and no longer followed him.
True disciples do not turn their backs on Christ, when challenged in their perspectives, in their prejudices or even agendas. But they stick with Christ.
More than an adherent
An adherent may be defined as someone who follows the teachings and practices of a religious order. In that sense, all believers should be adherents to the teachings of Christ. Yet not all adherents are true disciples. For we can agree to the teachings intellectually and follow the forms of Christian living yet not be committed to submit our lives to Christ.
The rich young ruler had followed all the teachings and the forms of Judaism, but could not cross the threshold of submitting himself fully to follow Christ.
Luke 18:18 – 23 (NIV)
18 A certain ruler asked him, “Good teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?”
19 “Why do you call me good?” Jesus answered. “No one is good—except God alone.
20 You know the commandments: ‘Do not commit adultery, do not murder, do not steal, do not give false testimony, honor your father and mother.’”
21 “All these I have kept since I was a boy,” he said.
22 When Jesus heard this, he said to him, “You still lack one thing. Sell everything you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.”
23 When he heard this, he became very sad, because he was a man of great wealth.
Evidence of Lordship
The evidence of Lordship in a true disciple would be shown in two key aspects.
Firstly, they would be willing to be obedient to all God’s commands in His Word.
This means no picking or choosing what they prefer to obey, unlike the admirers mentioned previously. Instead they strive to be obedient in all areas of life, that the Word of God touches upon. Some 2 decades ago, I made a profound choice to be fully obedient to God’s Word. The issue is no longer whether I would obey God’s Word anymore, but how I would obey. It is amazing how our whole perspective changes once we make such a decision. Things begin to flow in the journey of faith.
Secondly, they are willing to allow God to lead them into His perfect will for their lives.
This means being willing to submit every decision to God, including decisions of career or mate. Are we willing to do and be whatever Christ wants? This was the stumbling block for the rich young ruler. He could not give up being rich!
God’s Word clearly challenges us to submit our very hearts to God and to seek His will above all else.
Deuteronomy 6:5 (NIV)
5. Love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength.
Matthew 6:33 (NIV)
33. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.
Will we be willing to truly follow Christ and be committed to His Lordship over our lives? Entrust your life to Him fully and discover how trustworthy He is.
This article was published on INSIDE HOPE Newsletter on 2nd September 2009