Am I a True Disciple?

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Paul warned the Roman believers that our world seeks to shape us contrary to God’s purposes.  To avoid its persistent pressures to conformity, we must initiate a pro-active lifestyle: “Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind” (Rom. 12:2).

            We must be on our guard because these pressures usually come in subtle ways. As a writer recently noted, “We are producing millions of consumers of religion, but consumers of religion are a far cry from true disciples.” Our culture forces us into its consumer mold.  So much so, we approach faith issues from the consumer mind set.

            Years ago I heard a father admonish his son (who had recently gone through sales school for his new employment position) to pick out the largest and wealthiest church in the city and become involved there.  He implied that this would give his son a great group of potential sales contacts in the future.

            Today, people are more likely to approach the issue from a slightly different perspective.  Now the question is, “Which church will meet more of my family’s felt needs?” No, nobody asks that question out loud, nor do they think in those terms, but that’s the idea.

            Madison Avenue has worked feverishly to produce a nation of consumers. Sales people want us to have an ever-increasing list of needs.  The more we need, the more we buy. All they do is convince us that we need more and more stuff.

            With our increased expectations concerning consumable goods, comes an increase in demands on government and service organizations.  We want more and we are willing to “shop around” to find it.  Many of us have transferred these expectations to church.

            The greatest danger with this scenario is the loss of discipleship.  Rather than asking which church can give me what I want, I should ask which one can be most helpful in getting me to walk closely with Jesus. Will I grow to be more like Jesus because of my fellowship with these sisters and brothers? Will I become a servant, or do I want to be served?

John Kenneth King

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