Saturday, May 11, 2013

The Flow of Discipleship

I have always viewed the Christian life as a stream: although you cannot always see its source, nor where it finishes, you know it is real and it is in motion. You can observe it from a distance and study it under a microscope, but if you really want to understand it, you have to jump in! Only after jumping in can you feel the power of the water, the smoothness of the rocks, and know the many places it will take you!

At times, you are moving swift and steady, enjoying all the sights and sounds.

At times, you feel as if you have no control over where you’re going, but you know the ride is exhilarating.

At times, the motion is bumpy, and you appreciate the times that were smooth and look forward to them once again. At times, you feel stuck, but you know the stream continues and soon you will be moving again.

When you look at the flowing water, you notice it is clean. Why? Because the sediment sinks and the rocks and gravel act as a filter.

When you look at the rocks in the flow, you see that although they are not moving, they, too, are clean. Why? Because the flowing water cleanses them.

You also notice rocks near, but not in the stream: they look like they have been rinsed off, but moss and lichens are growing on them. You see still water off to the side, and because it is not part of the flow, stagnation is occurring and pockets of algae are forming.

What does this have to do with discipleship?

The way I see it, you can be an observer, you can be part of the flow, you can be a rock in the flow, or you can be like part of the stream that is off to the side and stagnant. If you’re an observer, that’s all you can do; you can never fully experience all that God and this life have to offer. You can see it and you can study it, but you cannot truly understand it.

If you are part of the flow, you are living the Christian dream, following where God leads, enjoying all that is around you, even the rough times.

You can be stationary, like a rock in the middle of the stream, and still be part of the flow. Teachers and pastors and other leaders that are constantly building and cleansing the people that go past them are part of the flow.
Finally, you can still be in the stream, in the Christian life, but not be associated with any of the flowing water. Oh sure, you once were, but you may have found comfort in simply being off to the side, oblivious to the flow around you. Be careful: this is how stagnation and mold and algae can form, causing you to lose the beauty of the stream that was once yours.


If you have jumped into the stream, if you have entered the Christian life, you know you have been changed. You now see and understand things differently than you ever could before while simply observing the stream. The longer you are in the stream, the more you experience. The more you experience, the more you are able to share, and sharing is how we make disciples.

It is likely someone shared with you what they discovered after “jumping in,” causing you to “jump in.” Since then, others have shared their knowledge and experiences with you. It’s only right that you continue the flow. It’s even biblical.
The last command Jesus gave His disciples before ascending to heaven was Go, therefore, and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I commanded you.
If that was His last command, what do you think His first question will be when He returns?