Expectations of Discipleship

I liked the way Rev. Blackwelder presented a typical understanding of a life in Christ yesterday. As he listed expectation after expectation, the weight of discipleship became intolerable. It was helpful after hearing him list those to-do's and to-avoids to have him acknowledge that if that's what a life in Jesus is like, then we're all sunk.

It was liberating to hear that a disciple's right living comes more from living in a relationship with Jesus than living under a burden of rules. That's not to say that discipleship doesn't come with standards, but that we meet those standards best when we're following Jesus' nudges, model, and teachings because we love him and want be with him.

I have a friend whose preaching style has morphed over the years. His first appointment out of divinity school was as an associate pastor with a fine preacher who makes a lot of gestures when he preaches and has some stock phrases he uses. Pretty early into that appointment, my friend used similar gestures and phrases.

He then served with a different senior pastor who also has a unique style of preaching and, you guessed it, he began to take on that style.

My friend is too grounded and secure to be dismissed as a cheap imitator. He is humble enough to want to be more like those he admires and spends time with, even if the influence is subconscious.

I haven't heard him preach lately, but my guess is he settled into his own style a little more, while still reflecting the influences of those previous mentors.

I think Josh's reminder to us yesterday is to spend time with Jesus because the more we do, the more influence he'll have on our thoughts and actions and, as a result, the more we'll fulfill the expectations of our faith without being overburdened by them.