Christian discipleship is a lot more simple than people often make it. If you want to follow Christ, you must do one thing: make yourself available to Christ for your transformation. Everything else will flow out of that availability. Possibly the biggest challenge for today’s Christians is our impulse to confuse availability with activity.
Being available isn’t always the same thing as serving. Service in mission often flows out of our experience of Christ in private and then the two reinforce one another.
When I say “make yourself available” I also don’t mean sitting for long stretches on a deserted beach, as nice as that is. If you want to do that–and who wouldn’t?–go ahead. However, Christian growth is not some mystical experience of ecstasy or rapture that requires the forsaking of community or civilization.
In the reformed tradition, we practice a simpler more earthy discipleship. No self-flagellation about “God’s will for my life.”
Growing in Christ comes simply by the work of the Holy Spirit in the life of the Christian who makes himself available.
In the reformed tradition we make ourselves available to receive grace by practicing the ‘means of grace.’ I’m a convinced classic Westminster Calvinist, so I’m not going to beat around the bush about this. If you want to grow in Christ do these things:
- Attend public worship. God’s spirit works in us through the reading (and especially the preaching) of the Word of God. The public exposition of Scripture in public worship is the foundation of our individual practice of scripture reading (not vice versa).
- Read the Bible yourself. Ideally, your preaching/teaching pastor should be expositing the Bible in a way that you can practice in your own personal devotional life. If not, you can invest in a good book about how to read scripture.
- Receive the sacraments. I think that every congregation should make provision for the Lord’s Supper to be received weekly. It doesn’t have to be in the main Lord’s Day services, but somehow and somewhere the bread and wine should be offered so that the faith of the Christians can be infused with fresh grace for the journey.
The difficult thing in an i-world is trusting that God’s Spirit can gradually, step-by-step, work in your heart and soul to transform you into a saint.