Tag Archives: discipleship

“But if you suffer for doing good and you endure it, this is commendable before God.  To this you were called, because Christ suffered for you, leaving you an example, that you should follow in his steps.”   (1 Peter 2:20b-21, NIV)

To “follow in his steps” means going wherever He may go, even into the crucible of personal suffering for doing good.

Because He has left us “an example,” it means doing as He has done: Enduring suffering for God’s glory.

To imitate Jesus is our calling!  It may be the only glimpse of Christ at work through suffering that some of your neighbors, co-workers, family members, and friends see today.  – Luther

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“Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize?  Run in such a way as to get the prize.  Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training.  They do it to get a crown that will not last, but we do it to get a crown that will last forever.  Therefore I do not run like someone running aimlessly; I do not fight like a boxer beating the air.  No, I strike a blow to my body and make it my slave so that after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified for the prize.”   (1 Corinthians 9: 24-27, NIV)

Excellence, discipline, and humility. 

We extol these three qualities in any athlete.  Likewise, these three qualities together are essential for faithful discipleship. 

Are we living our lives — every hour of every day — “in such a way as to get the prize,” which is life in all of its fullness and length?  Are we engaged in the private, hidden, work of “training”– in the words of Paul to his protege Timothy: “to study to show yourself approved unto God, a workman that need not be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth”?  (2 Timothy 2:15)

Paul’s words remind us to aspire to excellence in all that we do.  He reminds us to adopt the discipline of “strict training” so that we will be prepared for any of the so-called surprises of life, and fit to finish the course.  He reminds us to be humble, lest we ourselves are disqualified as the price of our pride.

Excellence + Discipline + Humility = Faithful discipleship.  – Luther

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“Women received back their dead, raised to life again.  There were others who were tortured, refusing to be released so that they might gain an even better resurrection.”  (Hebrews 11:35, NIV)

Every follower of Jesus should read the entirety of chapter 11 of the book of Hebrews to grasp the fact that current-day faithfulness does not guarantee current-day success.

While it is true that God blesses His faithful ones, we err when we begin to think that these “rewards” all come in this life; or at times when we think we would derive the most benefit from them.  Some rewards — like some punishments, for reasons known only to God — are reserved for life after life.

To be a true person of faith requires that we continue to believe (and act in accordance with that belief) although we have yet to receive that for which we hope.  It is not always an easy day.

However, as the writer of Hebrews assures us in verse 1: This is what the ancients were commended for by God.  – Luther

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