Devotion has its own strange ways. It is not something rational, logical, something that can be explained to you. But it is something, if you go on growing from a student into a disciple, from a disciple into a devotee, and you come so close to the master that there is no distinction at all.
I taught what was clear in Acts 11:26: SAVED = CHRISTIAN = DISCIPLE, simply meaning that you cannot be saved and you cannot be a true Christian without being a disciple also. I taught that, to be baptized, you must first make the decision to be a disciple, and then be baptized.... I taught that their baptism was invalid because a retroactive understanding of repentance and baptism was not consistent with Scripture.
The disciple simply burns his boats and goes ahead. He is called out... The old life is left behind, and completely surrendered. The disciple is dragged out of his relative security into a life of absolute insecurity... out of the realm of the finite...into the realm of infinite possibilities.
Evangelism cant be our focus! We must not stop sharing the good news, but here's the deal, here's the wonderful thing, it gets done along the way as you do discipleship. Great commission is just about going to disciple the nations and you know what happens... as you disciple them evangelism takes place, because it's done in the context of discipleship. Here's the issue: We have to reframe evangelism within the context of discipleship
A zealous disciple expressed a desire to teach others the Truth and asked the Master what he thought about this. The Master said, "Wait." Each year the disciple would return with the same request and each time the Master would give him the same reply: "Wait." One day he said to the Master, "When will I be ready to teach?" Said the Master, "When your excessive eagerness to teach has left you.
Anthony de Mello
Individually the disciple and friend of Jesus who has learned to work shoulder to shoulder with his or her Lord stands in this world as a point of contact between heaven and earth, a kind of Jacob's ladder by which the angels of God may ascend from and descend into human life. Thus the disciple stands as an envoy or a receiver by which the kingdom of God is conveyed into every quarter of human affairs.
Men are born soft and supple; dead, they are stiff and hard. Plants are born tender and pliant; dead, they are brittle and dry. Thus whoever is stiff and inflexible is a disciple of death. Whoever is soft and yielding is a disciple of life. The hard and stiff will be broken. The soft and supple will prevail.
Our work is not to save souls, but to disciple them. Salvation and sanctification are the work of God's sovereign grace, and our work as His disciples is to disciple others' lives until they are totally yielded to God. One life totally devoted to God is of more value to Him than one hundred lives which have been simply awakened by His Spirit. As workers for God, we must reproduce our own kind spiritually, and those lives will be God's testimony to us as His workers. God brings us up to a standard of life through His grace, and we are responsible for reproducing that same standard in others.
the powerful changes that happen in the life of a disciple never come from the disciple working hard at doing anything. They come from arriving at a place where Jesus is everything, and we are simply overwhelmed with the gift. Sometimes it seems as if God loves us too much. His love goes far beyond our ability to stop being moral, religious, obedient, and victorious, and we just collapse in his arms. Out of the gospel that Jesus is the only Mediator between God and humanity comes a Christian life that looks like Jesus, a life Jesus would recognize. It's a life that looks like Jesus, because Jesus does everything, and all we do is accept his gift. And to accept his gift, we have to give up trying to be Jesus. Out of that discovery comes a Christian life that is free from the tyranny of unnecessary adjectives - even my preferred modified, Jesus-shaped - and simply follows after the One who loves us beyond words or repayment.