Beyond Discipline to Discipleship

footstepsSmallLast year I took some time at the beach to photograph my own set of footprints. I walked a ways along the beach, then circled back in a large arc so as not to come near my first footprints. I framed the picture to show footprints going off into the distance. I now wish I had made a second set of footprints alongside the first so that there would be two sets of footprints in the photo. The spiritual journey is far better portrayed by two sets of footprints rather than just one set. That’s because, as a Christian, I don’t see the spiritual journey as a solo endeavor. The spiritual journey for me is a call to follow Jesus, for me to walk alongside Him.

A single set of footprints can symbolize discipline, often seen as being self-discipline. The person determines the direction his or her life should take and makes a determined effort to follow that path. It is no one’s journey except that person’s. It seems to me much of the self-help literature focuses on this, the solo journey of one’s own determination.

From my perspective as a follower of Jesus I see a big difference between discipline and discipleship. Discipleship implies someone who is discipled (taught) by a discipler (teacher). My spiritual journey is one in which Jesus is the discipler and I’m the disciple. It requires me to seek to be close to Him in a personal relationship and be willing to live His way and not my own way.

Here’s a countdown of three reasons why I’m a disciple of Jesus rather than trying to go it alone with self-discipline. The list is from the lesser to the greatest of reasons…

3. It’s far less lonely, for I’m following alongside the One who is my Discipler.

2. I actually have His help, for a good discipler comes alongside the one discipled and offers needed assistance.

1. I believe with all my mind and heart that Jesus is God come to us, that He did His work of saving us, reigns supreme as creator/sustainer of everything and, therefore, deserves to be in charge of my life!

…This is why I follow Jesus.

Yep! Someday I’m going to take that photo of two sets of footprints. It symbolizes the spiritual journey at its best!

Jesus’ invitation: “Follow me.” (Matthew 4:19, 8:22, 9:9, 10:38, 16:24, 19:21)

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