John Calvin (1509-1564) was one of the most well-known theologians of all time. His most influential work, Institutes of the Christian Religion, is still standard reading for many studying theology today.
By nature Calvin was not an outgoing person. Like many people he preferred to be away from the limelight. But God worked on him, and brought him to a point in his life where he had to push beyond his comfort zone. I was once like this myself (but now it’s hard to shut me up!)
I found this interesting quote:
“While my one great object was to live in seclusion without being known, God so led me about through different turnings and change that he never permitted me to rest in any place, until, in spite of my natural disposition, he brought me forth to public notice.”
When God is at work in a person’s life, dramatic change can happen. What we think we are not, God can make us – and use us in his service in ways we could never have imagined.
Jesus gave the church a mission – to go into the world, ‘making disciples’ (Matthew 28:19). A disciple is essentially a student who follows a teacher. They’re an everyday person who follows Jesus Christ – the risen and reigning Lord of the world. However, you don’t just trust Jesus, thank your lucky stars you’re going to heaven, and leave it there. Being a disciple isn’t just a spiritual state – it’s a journey. A path.
When we read what the first followers of Jesus said, it’s clear that being a disciple is a continuous pattern of spiritual growth as we become more and more like Jesus. Here’s a taste:
“For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the likeness of his Son . . .”(Romans 8:29)
“But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.” (2 Peter 3:18)
“For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men. It teaches us to say “No” to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age. (Titus 2:11-12)
“Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God– this is your spiritual act of worship. Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.” (Romans 12:1-2; all verses taken from the NIV)
Here is a video that touches on what ‘discipleship’ is . . .