Wanted: Disciples Who Will “Follow Me” Devotional Reading and Podcast
“As Jesus passed on from there, he saw a man called Matthew sitting at the tax booth, and he said to him, ‘Follow me.’ And he rose and followed him.” (Matthew 9:9)
Matthew was of Jewish descent but worked for the Roman government as a tax collector. He was despised by the other Jews because of his habit of overcharging and oppressing those whom he collected taxes from. Yet, Jesus knew there was something in Matthew’s heart that yearned to know the truth. Jesus gave the command, “Follow me” [that has the option to say no] to Matthew and he followed.
Matthew walked away from his life to obey Christ and become a disciple including his financially lucrative position. He chose the Kingdom of God over money. Yes, Matthew gave up everything to follow Christ.
In the Scriptures, there are examples of others that Jesus called, the rich, young ruler, and the man who was in mourning for the death of a family member who chose not to follow Jesus. They were unable to become disciples because of their love for traditional beliefs and worldly possessions. Denial reveals their earthly priorities. Like many today who desire to serve God, yet, they are unwilling to give up all that is required to become one of Christ’s disciples.
Jesus says, “Follow Me” but the unspoken words “Not by Force” is understood by the fact that we were created with the free will of choice. Many will accept Christ as their personal Savior, but they do not desire to be a faithful and obedient disciple. Satan has deceived many Christians into thinking that we can develop the description of discipleship.
When an individual applies for a position the company’s advertisement must include a job description. The interviewer provides a breakdown of the duties required for the position. An experienced job-seeker is aware that the flexibility of the position is minimal. Usually, there are only a couple of negotiable areas, the starting salary and the work hours.
“And calling the crowd to him with his disciples, he said to them, ‘If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me.’ ” (Mark 8:34)
Every person who accepts Christ as their personal Savior has the job description of being a full-time disciple. The difference between the employer’s job description and Jesus’ disciple, we are accountable to God 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Christians follow Christ–we move in the same direction and obey God’s will and plans.
Disciple’s Job Description: We are called to love and lead people to Christ. “And Jesus came and spoke to them, saying, ‘All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.’ Amen” (Matthew 28:18-20).
The Mindset and Behaviors of a Disciple–
True Disciples Follow Jesus, the Leader
Faithful, Obedient, and Live a Sacrificial Life
Called to leave everyone and everything
Prioritize by always having Jesus first
“There are different kinds of gifts, but the same Spirit distributes them. There are different kinds of service, but the same Lord. There are different kinds of working, but in all of them and in everyone it is the same God at work” (1 Corinthians 12:4-6).
We receive the discernment and power to use our spiritual gifts from the Holy Spirit. Not everyone has the same gifts. Whether we are part of an Outreach Ministry in our church or have been directed to use our gifts in other ways, God never leaves us guessing about our role in discipleship. Praying and studying the Bible are the ways that we receive spiritual nourishment and God’s guidance.
God knows that most have secular jobs that require at least 40 hours a week. Even so, we are always required to put God first. Our godly lifestyle, our behaviors of demonstrating love and kindness, and the gentle tone of our spoken words portray the love of Christ which are non-verbal ways of witnessing.
God has allowed humanity to make advancements in technology for the advancement of the Gospel of Salvation. We can use our time to post an encouraging Scripture or make a video witnessing the love of Jesus every day on social media. Yet, we also have the responsibility to “Go!” We can volunteer at a food pantry or homeless shelter once a week. When at the store, we can easily say, God loves you. The diverse ways to use our gifts are endless.
“But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you” (Matthew 6:33).
We are accountable to God for how we used or wasted our talents [spiritual gifts] and our time. In reading Matthew chapter 25, verses 31 to 46, Jesus separates the sheep from the goats. The goats are also Christians who did not perform their duties of discipleship during their lifetime on earth.
“Then they also will answer Him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see You hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison, and did not minister to You?’ Then He will answer them, saying, ‘Assuredly, I say to you, inasmuch as you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to Me.’ And these will go away into everlasting punishment, but the righteous into eternal life” (Matthew 25:44-46).
“And behold, I am coming quickly, and My reward is with Me, to give to everyone according to his work (Revelation 22:12).
When Jesus comes, His reward is not based on weekly church attendance or tithe and offerings. Daily study of the Bible is to be utilized for spiritual growth and for sharing Scriptures with others. We have neighbors who know nothing about Jesus. It is our work as a disciple, the time we spent witnessing and caring for others that Jesus will reward.
Who will tell them? We are called to lead people to Jesus, the Savior of the world. Our commitment to Christ is all or nothing. Remember, it is the non-negotiable duty of all disciples to follow in the footsteps of Christ.
Prayer: God, we pray for forgiveness for not fulfilling our role as a disciple. We ask for the anointing of the Holy Spirit and the boldness to tell others about Jesus. Give us guidance and direction to use our spiritual gifts for Your honor and glory. In Jesus’ Worthy Name, we pray. Amen.
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