This week, I led a training, “Knowing God By Heart: Training the Next Generation of Disciples,” that was attended by area pastors, youth ministers, leaders and workers. After reviewing the meaning of discipleship, we discussed the words of Dietrich Bonhoeffer who said, “Salvation is free… but discipleship will cost you your life.” I shared with them that salvation is completed with confession (Romans 10.9-11) but that the transformational process wherein “Christ is formed in us” (Galatians 4.19) does not occur on the Roman Road. Discipleship will occur for the rest of our lives.
I then defined discipleship by the words of our Teacher, Jesus 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 all things that I have commanded you” (Matthew 28.19-20).
- “Whoever does not bear his own cross and come after me cannot be my disciple” (Luke 14.27).
- “And he said to all, ‘If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me” (Luke 9.23).
- “If anyone comes to me and does not hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes, even his own life, he cannot be my disciple” (Luke 14.26).
- Not everyone who says to me, Lord, Lord, will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven” (John 8.31-32).
- So, therefore, anyone of you who does not renounce all that he has cannot be my disciple” (Luke 14.33).
Believing in race does not make us better disciples; instead, it is a part of our identity, albeit social, that we must deny in order to take up our cross and follow Christ. We cannot follow the Great Commandment or be obedient to the Great Commission as disciples of race. Besides, as Christians, we can only have one teacher, one master. Whose teachings do you follow? Who do you serve? Who are you a disciple of?