“How do I know God is real?” “What will heaven be like?” says our deep thinking kindergartner. I have prayed for these moments. I understand the sweet significance of these moments. So why am I left feeling somewhat regretful in these moments?
Perhaps it is the echo of a certain scripture passage about always being prepared to have an answer for the hope you have. Or maybe it is the conclusion of an incredible study of Matthew with my BSF class that leaves me feeling like I could've done better.
In the final words of Jesus before His return to heaven, we are given a calling, a purpose for this life. “Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. (Matthew 28:19-20a NIV)
I consider my own disciple-making, and the faces of a dimpled boy and a brown-eyed girl come to my mind. The calling is not without reason, "All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to Me.” (Matthew 28:18) Nor is it without promise, “Surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” (Matthew 28:20b) However, the weightiness of the calling leaves this momma feeling completely inadequate.
It is humbling to know that my every insecurity has already been answered with the Truth of His Word. In the struggles and victories of twelve unlikely men, in the utter insincerity of the Pharisees, in the passion of a few significant women, in the precise fulfillment of prophesy, and in the teachings and living example of my Savior, Jesus, I have learned what it looks to be a disciple. The pages of Matthew in conjunction with the circumstances of the last nine months have given me better understanding that the going and making starts with me.
In my study of Matthew this year, I have learned:
- A disciple sees crisis as a challenge to her worldview and can lead to a fresh encounter with the Holy Spirit.
- A disciple realizes she was created for worship and brings the best of what she has to offer.
- A disciple precedes the coming of The Lord and humbly calls the "brood of vipers” to repentance.
- A disciple falls in love with Jesus by knowing who she is on the inside and understanding her deep need for Him.
- A disciple continually checks her motives and has a true longing for what pleases God.
- A disciple resists addiction to man's approval for the sake of the only reward that matters, the long-awaited applause of heaven.
- A disciple seeks first His kingdom for her needs to be met, and therefore, is without worry about tomorrow.
- A disciple attempts to bring out the God-flavors and shed God-colors on even the most impossible of circumstances.
- A disciple risks approaching Jesus as she is and has faith in His healing.
- A disciple experiences doubt but looks to Truth that Jesus is waiting to give.
- A disciple looks to Jesus to multiply and satisfy regardless of limited resources.
- A disciple has the responsibility to give HOPE to her children each day because living without hope is like living without oxygen.
- A disciple goes into the storm with confidence that Jesus has led her there, has a watchful eye on her, and will not forsake her in the midst of it.
- A disciple sees interruptions as opportunities.
- A disciple lets her own agenda die as she identifies with the cross and aligns her thoughts with those of Christ.
- A disciple has humility in relationships.
- A disciple's habits are made known by the fruit she produces.
- A disciples realizes the benefits of daily quiet time-peace, purification of heart, insight/instruction, and strengthening of faith.
- A disciple spreads it all out before the Father in times of bad news.
- A disciple denies self, embraces the cross God puts in her path, and experiences the peace of being in His will.
- A disciples recognizes His supernatural in the day to day and is empowered by the Resurrection.