We are all already disciples of someone and something, shaped by interactions with others. The only real choice we have to make is who will we be discipled by? I remember the first time I read about this reality in the Divine Conspiracy by Dallas Willard, and then heard him talk about it a couple of years later in 1999.
As I enter another year, I am reflecting on whether I will choose Jesus for the totality - the whole of my Existence. Not a Jesus I pay lip service to, and say I believe in to provide me with some eternal life insurance. Not a Jesus I expect to provide 'stuff' for me, as if he served the other forces of discipleship in my life.
Not a Jesus who will give me the aspirations of my discipleship to others, but a Jesus who is my aspiration and the measure of all my life. Following Jesus is his own reward, not a means to get me something else.
After starting my walk with Jesus when I was 17 some 28 years ago, I find that I have so much of me that still needs to discipled by Jesus. So much of me seems to be shaped, still, by other forces of discipleship - fears, anxieties, and with midlife the pernicious forces of what I have achieved and have not.
I face a new year somewhat overwhelmed at the challenges that face me with work, family, and life. I feel the force of those challenges and the pull to address them with measures and actions that are not those of a follower of Jesus Christ - the forces of anxiety ready to fuel my workaholism.
So I enter this year, grateful that His spirit has reminded me that I am still too often shaped by forces other than his love, grace and power and the experience of His Kingdom. That same Spirit who began His work in me when I was 17, having now reminded me of that work, will bring that work to further completion.
So today I choose to let those forces that bring me to the end of myself, to instead bring me to him. I let those forces that too often bring me to the worst of myself usher me instead, to Him, and the foot of his cross. Suddenly the worst of what I fear, is an opportunity to know him, to trust him, to submit to him, and see what He is doing in me.
Suddenly everything I face is an opportunity to have more of him this year.
To become a disciple of Jesus it helps to continue to learn from those who were better at that than me. So I feel promoted to read again Dallas Willard's, Divine Conspiracy and watch one video a month, of the 12 videos by Willard teaching about Discipleship.