How to become a disciple
Kim Kardashian has over 48 million followers - on Twitter. Selena Gomez has almost 100 million followers — on Instagram.
What does it take to be a follower of one of these celebrities? You have to sign up for a social messaging account and then subscribe to a feed of messages. Pretty simple — and then you get messages and updates electronically when the celebrity (or friend) of your choice sends out a message. Being a follower on Twitter or Instagram doesn't require commitment or sacrifice or allegiance to the one you're 'following.' You get updates, and you can choose to read them or ignore them.
Being a follower of Jesus Christ holds few similarities to social media. When someone chooses to follow Jesus Christ, many things in your life shift. Being a follower means becoming a disciple — a person who daily pursues the teachings and lifestyle of their Teacher.
Before Matthew the Disciple was a follower of Jesus Christ, he was a tax collector for the Romans, which earned him the title of 'sinner' from his own people (tax collectors were usually unrestricted in how much they charged, and many were thought to be pretty sketchy). Matthew describes the event of Jesus' call to him while he was in his tax collection booth in Matthew chapter 9, and in his account we can see the same steps needed for anyone today who would be a disciple of Jesus:
1. Make the decision to leave all and follow Jesus (verse 9).
Matthew left the crooked tax collection business and showed his trust in Jesus by answering the call to follow. Jesus said, "Follow me," and Matthew did just that. It was obvious to him that a choice had to be made between the old way of life and the way of life Jesus offered, and he didn't even give it a second thought. He chose Jesus above all.
2. Move yourself to invite Jesus in and get to know Him (vs. 10,11).
The next stop, apparently, was Matthew's house! The religious professionals scoffed at Jesus for making such a personal appearance with a known sinner, but Matthew really wanted to know Jesus. If you want to be a disciple of Jesus, you only have to know Him. Too many people who claim to be a Christian are OK with going to the Lord's House on occasional Sundays, but Jesus is never invited into their home — there are no conversations about Him, no relying on Him or asking for direction, no prayers before dinner or bed.
3. Turn away from old, sinful ways to Christ's new life (vs. 12,13).
When Jesus heard the scoffing, He simply asked the religious clerics, "Who needs a Physician? Healthy people, or ill? I came to save sinners — to call them to repentance." The religious clerics thought that their orthodoxy would make them righteous before God, but it only hardened their hypocrisy. Matthew and his friends gathered in his house were intent on jettisoning whatever baggage from their old way of life in order to follow Jesus — they were far from perfect, but ready to repent and turn their lives over to Jesus.
Like Matthew the tax collector, you may need to make some abrupt shifts in your life's direction if you will make the most of your life following Jesus. What adjustments might have to be made in your life?
What could God do with your life?