Part 6 of 7 The Company You Keep
By Scott Hilgendorff / Cowboys of the Cross
Just like bull riders will tell you that to get better, you want to be surrounded by better bull riders, we know that the Bible teaches us there are times we have to be careful who we tie ourselves to. If we spend all our time with unbelievers, we can see our own faith suffer. At the same time, we have to spend time with unbelievers in order to share the gospel with them—how to be saved from the punishment meant for our sin by a belief in Jesus Christ, repenting of our sin and asking to be forgiven.
But before we can worry about finding the balances there, we first need to become disciples.
John 8:31-32 So Jesus said to the Jews who had believed in Him, “If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples, and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”
Jesus tells us that when we have truly become a Christian—a follower of Jesus—then we will ‘abide’ in his word. That means that we will live it out. Our desire to do that is the proof of our salvation.
While there is a lot to being a disciple that the average Christian seems to ignore throughout the New Testament, we know that in its simple form, a disciple is someone who follows Jesus.
In rodeo, most of us have successful cowboys and bull riders who we follow to learn their style, techniques and how they became successful.
Jesus tells us that we will live out his word but he knows we don’t immediately know or understand everything there is in the Bible.
That’s why, even though Jesus calls us disciples, we still need to be discipled.
The Great Commission in Matthew 28:19-20 tells his disciples to go into the world and make make more disciples with clear instructions to teach others about what Jesus taught them. That means right now, there are people out there with knowledge and wisdom we haven’t achieved yet who are following, or should be following, the command to make disciples. There are people we need to have teaching us what they know from the Bible.
At the same time, we read our Bibles on our own, attend church services, learn where we can and pray in order to learn and put to practice what it means to live out our faith.
And Jesus tells us it isn’t going to be easy.
Luke 9:23 And he said to all, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me.
There can be a cost to following Jesus and while there is much we can study on being disciples and what it means to follow Jesus, we’re focused right now on making sure we have the right people in our lives to be successful followers of Christ.
By linking with other believers who are more mature and experienced in their faith than we are, we can be discipled by them while we also begin the process of teaching others about Jesus. As we learn, we teach, regardless of how experienced we are. If I’ve just started learning how to throw a rope and you teach me a better way to guide my loop to the roping dummy’s head, it doesn’t matter whether I’ve won a rodeo or even entered one; once you’ve taught me how to do that much, I can teach someone else that much too.
(Supporting photo of the Bible provided by John-Mark Smith of Lviv, Ukraine)