Over the first two weeks of my new sermon series on discipleship, I emphasized the importance of living for God everyday. We have a tendancy to reduce our faith to something that happens at church one day a week. I like to call this “Sunday Morning Only” Christianity. What we do on Sunday mornings has no impact on how we live the other six days of the week. I am not pointing fingers, either. Pastors can be just as susceptible to this mindset. Trust me.
Is that all that God deisres from us? One hour, one day a week? I believe God wants, and deserves, more than that. He invites us into a relatoinship with him. He calls us to follow him seven days a week, not just one. That should, then, impact how we live.
What does that look like, practically speaking? I have experienced some push back when I talk to people about discipleship. Their concern is that they are not equipped or prepared for the kind of commitment that would require. After all, look at the kinds of things the twelve disciples did in the Gospels. They followed Jesus everywhere, and were eventually sent off to teach, preach, and heal people on their own. No wonder people feel inadequate when they compare themselves to them!
When I talk about everyday discipleship, I am not saying that you need to quit your job, give away your entire savings account, or anything extreme like that. Everyday discipleship is about allowing your faith to infiltrate everything you do. It does not mean you abandon you friends or family. Instead, it changes how you relate to them. You don’t abandon your other responsibliites. Your faith transforms how you appoach them. You should think, live and act diffderently as a result of your commitment to Christ.
Let’s think about it another way. Do the people you interact with on a regular basis know you are a Christian? Would they be able to discern your commitment to Christ based on how you treat other people or respond to different situations? If the anser is yes, then your faith is having a positive impact on the entirity of your life. If not? Then it’s likely you are reducing your relationship with Christ to a “Sunday Morning Only” commitment.
This level of discipleship may seem impossible for us to attain. In a sense, it is. You and I won’t become everyday disciples on our own. God works in and through us to bring about that change. Philippians 2:12-13 encourages us to “work out your own salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure.” If we just read the first part of the passage, it seems as if we must do all the work ourselves. If I want to be a better disciple, if I want to live for Christ everyday, then I must try harder. I must do more to earn my standing as a disciple.
But that’s not the whole picture. Any work we put it, anything we do is always a repsosne to God’s work in our lives. He is the one, Paul writes in Philippians, who works in us, so that we may work and act according to his will. In other words, we can’t do it on our own. We need God to enable us to live for him.
One of the ways we depend on God is through prayer. He invites us into a relationship with him, yet it is far too easy for us to ingore that invitation. Prayer is an afterthought, or a last resort. Instead, we need to think of prayer as a lifeline. It is what enables us to remain faithful to Jesus and live for him everyday. Hebrews 4:16 says, “Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.” We can approach God with confidence because of what Christ has done for us. So ask God to help you live for him. Ask him to enable you to be a disciple everyday, not just on Sunday mornings or when it’s convenient. Prayer is our response to God’s word and grace. It demonstrates our dependence on him. Prayer, therefore, is a necessary part of everyday discipleship. Learn to lean on him, and you will find grace and mercy, just as he promised.