by Josh Vande Hey
For I have come to down from heaven, not to do My own will but the will of Him who sent Me.
JOHN 6:38, ESV
As summertime rolls in, corporations everywhere are usually getting ready for an influx of new faces. It is intern season! As an intern, I remember some of my first mentors (both in life and professionally) – and those that are still teaching me today. There’s something special about having someone bought into your life so deeply that they truly care about the outcome. It’s pretty simple but so important. Not nearly as often do we remember how much those seasoned veterans are learning too but having two unique perspectives collaborating on the same goal is powerful!
Believe it or not, Jesus did (and is doing) this same thing during His ministry. We wouldn’t often consider that Jesus was “mentored” in any way, but during Jesus’ time on earth He clearly imparted that He was not on earth to do His own will – but rather He was here to do the will of the Father (John 6:38). We see Him being directed by God as he asks questions and spends time with God. We see this up until some of the last moments before His death when Jesus is pleading with God for another way but ultimately submits to the Father’s will instead (Luke 22:42).
Jesus taught His disciples to live just like He did by calling them to just “follow Me” (Matthew 4:18-20). This was so simple. He didn’t put any additional requests on them. He didn’t say that they were only allowed to follow Him if they performed certain rituals, straightened themselves up, or said certain words – it was just “follow Me”. If I dug a little deeper, I would suggest that He was also conveying, “Please just come spend time with Me. Just follow Me and I will do the rest. Learn from me. Ask me questions. Observe as much as you can. I just love you and I will take care of everything else.”
After years together, He then gives them a final command – in the same way I have taught you about God’s love, go teach others and invite them to be loved by Me through you! (Matthew 28:16-20). Today, we often call this style of relationship “discipleship.”
In the Western church, “discipleship” has become a bit of a buzz word. It has become so popular that I sometimes wonder if we’ve lost its simplicity. Churches and authors often describe discipleship as programs, techniques, or skills. It’s almost as if some believe there’s a way for us to become a “next level Christian.” Jesus’ focus, however, was on following Him together in obedience and as we are with Him, He changes us. The call of Jesus is to abide with Him, and as we do the Holy Spirit fills us with the desire, strength, and direction to live for Him. Being a disciple isn’t something we add on top of our lives, it is the person He calls us to become!
So today I want to ask you, how’s your discipleship? How are your relationships are doing – are they all pointed toward the same goal? It takes true authenticity and humility to allow others to speak life into your world – are you willing to try? It also takes a supreme trust in His guidance to speak life into another’s world – are you willing to try? My prayer for my own life, is that I can simply obey “follow Me.”