The Discipleship Pathway lays out a map for how our congregation can follow Jesus together as a band of brothers and sisters. The first step to start the journey begins with every individual that God has saved and called to be a soldier of Jesus Christ. Here are the personal priorities that we need to pursue in order to fight strong and last long together at FCBC Walnut.
“Share in suffering as a good soldier of Christ Jesus. No soldier gets entangled in civilian pursuits, since his aim is to please the one who enlisted him.” – 2 Timothy 2:3-4 (ESV)
The call to follow Jesus is one that enlists a disciple into spiritual warfare. We are in an antagonistic culture against powerful enemies. They are scheming constantly to defeat the mighty work of God in redemption and the disciple-making culture of God’s people. Therefore, the posture that we need to have is that following Jesus will be increasingly difficult in this world and we must be willing and expecting to suffer for His name. For us as disciple-makers and every-day missionaries, no matter how peaceful or prosperous our lives may be, the call to endure through trials and hardships is how we must view our trajectory. For those of us living in relative comfort and security, the battle continues to wage in our hearts and minds.
Detach from Distractions
The dominant rallying cry that resonates among many of us is that we don’t have enough time to pursue the things of God! While we are aware of the urgency of heavenly priorities, our earthly attachments often weigh us down. Paul’s teaching for the soldier here is simple: you make time for the important things by dropping the less significant. It’s not just about eating healthy foods, but it’s making sure your stomach is not occupied up by junk. The specific distractions vary, including: physical fitness, entertainment, social media, relational responsibilities, and vocation/educational aspirations. As long as a task or person or priority takes up time in our lives, we should take the time to examine its worthiness. Does it prepare us for spiritual battle or help our earthly endeavors to love God and people? If it does not, we must disengage from it for our eternal benefit.
Treasure the Commander
Above all applications we can take, the primary engine that will drive a life-long obedience in the same direction is a growing love for Jesus. Direct our disciples towards disciplines that will enhance our knowledge, intimacy, and dependence with our Lord. Again, this often begins with simple tweaks to everyday actions that infuse meaning and significance to our daily lives. Instead of just reading the Bible to check off boxes or to reach a goal, make sure to spend time reflecting and engaging with a text when you read it so that it interacts with your daily struggles and priorities. Take the extra 5 minutes each time you are in God’s Word to ask for God’s help to apply the spiritual truth in your life. If you can, memorize a verse or two in the course of the week.
As you interact with God’s Word, be reminded that the Author is omnipresent and that our Heavenly Father loves hearing from His children any time of the day! So go into everything in life with a posture of divine dependence through prayer. Be bold about talking to God. Don’t worry first; pray first. When your heart is in turmoil about a situation, reach for the lifeline held out by a sovereign and powerful God who will not leave you or forsake you. Make it a habit and you will grow to love Him more than all people, positions, and possessions.
Our Next Steps
As we take the time to unpack the Discipleship Pathway and preach through the Psalms of Ascents (120-134) leading into the new church year in September, our intercessions begin with your spiritual health. May our next steps help us to grow in spiritual health and endurance so that we can run long together and make many disciples together at home and in the church.
Pastor Terrence (PT) is the Family Ministry Associate Pastor at FCBC Walnut. PT has been joyfully married to Regina since 2000 and they have three wonderful children: Thomas (2004), Rachel (2008), and Tobias (2013). He considers his immediate family the primary small group and first disciples of his life and revels in journeying with them as much as possible. View more articles from PT or visit the blog homepage.