By Leslie Jones
I watched the waves lap the shoreline from my seat on the beach, the glistening Sea of Galilee spread before me.
Daydreaming about being on a boat with Jesus, I thanked God for this trip of a lifetime, a 10-day tour through the Holy Land with members of my home church.
As I burrowed my toes in the sand, I pictured the disciple Peter sitting on this same beach, nibbling on the fish breakfast prepared by Jesus soon after His resurrection.
I imagined the guilt roiling inside Peter as recalled his faithlessness, denying his Lord three times despite having boldly declared just days before, “If I have to die with You, I will never deny You!” (Mk 14:31 HCSB)
I visualized the flush of shame on his cheeks as he waited for Jesus to confront his denial.
Jesus asked Peter three times, “Do you love me?” (Jn 21:15-17)
With each “yes,” Peter committed his life to Jesus’ command to take care of His sheep.
This was Peter’s recommissioning, a revival of his discipleship journey.
In reflection, I bowed my head in shame, realizing I, too, had been faithless.
For months my faith had felt stale. My time in God’s word shrank with each passing day, and my prayer life was almost non-existent. I couldn’t remember the last time I shared the Good News with someone.
Yet there on the shore, Jesus ministered to me as he did Peter.
With holy tenderness, He asked, “Do you love me, Leslie?” I breathed in whispers of redemption as I breathed out, “Yes, Lord, you know I love you.”
He asked me twice more, and my answer was the same.
Goosebumps rippled down my arms as my soul rose to accept His recommissioning to “follow me.”God is recommissioning us to follow Him on a new discipleship journey.
Living as a Disciple of Christ
“Whoever does not bear his own cross and come after Me cannot be My disciple.” – Luke 14:27 HCSB
Throughout the rest of the trip, I thought about what it means to live as one of Jesus’ disciples.
A disciple is someone abandoned and surrendered to Christ, with an undivided heart wholly dedicated to loving Jesus.
As I reflected on my own discipleship journey, I asked myself some hard questions.
- How was I responding to Jesus’ discipleship call?
- Was I living out the Great Commission to make disciples of others? (Mt 28:16-20)
- Was I boldly sharing the Gospel?
- Had I totally submitted to Him?
The call to discipleship is a call to leave the world behind and follow Him. My answers revealed that I wasn’t living that way.
I knew my discipleship journey needed a revival.A disciple is someone abandoned and surrendered to Christ, with an undivided heart wholly dedicated to loving Jesus.
Reviving Your Discipleship Journey
“Even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life – a ransom for many.” – Mark 10:45 HCSB
It’s easy to allow daily demands to draw us away from Jesus’ discipleship call, but we can’t be effective for God’s Kingdom if we aren’t intentional about obeying it.
Here are five steps to consider if you need to revive your discipleship journey:
1 – Reject the Lie that Your Past Excludes You
“Brothers, I do not consider myself to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and reaching forward to what is ahead, I pursue as my goal the prize promised by God’s heavenly call in Christ Jesus.” – Philippians 3:13-14 HCSB
Our past mistakes and failures don’t keep us from being spreaders of the Good News, so don’t let the enemy tell you differently. God often uses our greatest shame to impact others who share the same struggle.
Jesus doesn’t want disciples with a perfect past who have it all together. He wants those who know they need a Savior and will pick up their cross daily to follow Him.Jesus wants disciples who know they need a Savior and will pick up their cross daily to follow Him.
2 – Rekindle Your Service
“Do not lack diligence; be fervent in spirit; serve the Lord.” – Romans 12:11 HCSB
An important part of a disciple of Christ’s life is serving God’s people.
Could you make time in your schedule – even once a month – to volunteer at your local church or non-profit organization? Ask God to provide opportunities for service that match your talents and skills.
3 – Resist the Temptation to Give Up
“Therefore, my dear brothers, be steadfast, immovable, always excelling in the Lord’s work, knowing that your labor in the Lord is not in vain.” – 1 Corinthians 15:58 HCSB
The enemy tries to stop us from obeying Jesus’ call, but we can prepare by using Scripture as a weapon just as He did.
Memorize a few encouraging verses for when you want to give up, so you’ll be ready to fight temptation at any moment.
4 – Take Up Your Cross Daily
“Then He said to them all, ‘If anyone wants to come with Me, he must deny himself, take up his cross daily, and follow Me.’” – Luke 9:23 HCSB
We must place our flesh on the cross we carry and let it die daily. Simultaneously, we need to make every effort to surrender to and walk in the Spirit.
Are you willing to give up doing things your way and allow Jesus to lead your journey?
5 – Renew your Spiritual Practices
“Practice these things; be committed to them, so that your progress may be evident to all.” – 1 Timothy 4:15 HCSB
If we’re not careful, our spiritual life can go stale. Try something new to revive important spiritual practices:
- Use an acronym to deepen your prayers (ACTS – Adoration, Confession, Thanksgiving, Supplication)
- Complete a word study by selecting a meaningful phrase or word. Consult your Bible concordance for verses that contain it and read them in several different translations.
- Mix up your worship by listening to traditional hymns.
When we revive our discipleship journey, we’re ready and prepared to do what Jesus asks of us.
But do you know the biggest reason He calls us to be disciples of Christ?When we revive our discipleship journey, we’re ready and prepared to do what Jesus asks of us.
Get Another Disciple of Christ on the Ark
“The harvest is abundant, but the workers are few. Therefore, pray to the Lord of the harvest to send out workers into His harvest.” – Matthew 9:37 HCSB
As we revive our journey, we must remember why Jesus wants us to pursue discipleship.
Jesus’ word-picture describes many unbelievers (harvest) but not enough disciples (workers) to invite them to discipleship. We can do our part by actively looking for people in our lives who need an invitation to know Jesus and to follow Him.
When she explains our mission to find unbelievers and help them become disciples, my spiritual mentor puts it this way: “Let’s get another one on the ark.” (Gn 7:1-15)
To make disciples is to go to people who don’t know the love of Christ and lead them to experience life with Christ.To make disciples is to go to people who don’t know the love of Christ and lead them to experience life with Christ.
The Journey of a Lifetime for a Disciple of Christ
“Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe everything I have commanded you. And remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” – Matthew 28:19-20 HCSB
Jesus’ last earthly message was a challenge and a promise to all disciples.
The journey of a lifetime begins when we go into the world, preach the gospel of salvation, and lead others to Jesus.
So, fellow disciple of Christ, will you follow Jesus without hesitation, remain open to His changes in your heart, and trust that He’ll lead the way? Will you accept His call to make disciples of others?
Though our faith may falter at times like Peter’s, when we return to Jesus, He forgives, strengthens, and recommissions us to do His work.
Let’s allow Him to revive our discipleship journey so, at the end of our days, we may hear “well done, good and faithful servant.” (Mt. 25:21 NIV)
– Leslie Jones
A lover of words, running, and Jesus, Leslie Jones believes a strong faith is built one intentional step at a time. Her work has been featured in The Joyful Life magazine, Proverbs 31 Ministries, and Awake Our Hearts online magazine. In her downtime, she can be found training for her next marathon, sipping strong hot tea, and designing Lego creations with her husband and son. Follow Leslie on Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, and Pinterest.