Baby Steps in Discipleship

The task of discipleship can be overwhelming. Yesterday in church I was reminded that God’s purpose for me is that I become more Christlike. Hmmm. Forgive me, but that sounds a little overwhelming.

But then I remember. This work is accomplished by degrees. And this morning, reading in Matthew, I was reminded of a simple principle. Here’s the passage:

13 Then Jesus came from Galilee to the Jordan to be baptized by John. 14 But John tried to deter him, saying, “I need to be baptized by you, and do you come to me?”

15 Jesus replied, “Let it be so now; it is proper for us to do this to fulfill all righteousness.” Then John consented.

16 As soon as Jesus was baptized, he went up out of the water. At that moment heaven was opened, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and alighting on him. 17 And a voice from heaven said, “This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased.”  (Matthew 3:13-17)

In one sense, Jesus of all people needed baptism least. For him, it would not be a baptism of repentance, except in a representative way. Yet, he does a simple act of obedience “to fulfill all righteousness.”

The principle then, in the face of the overwhelming challenge of discipleship is this: do the next right thing. For Jesus, that was to be baptized. For you, it might be:

  • keeping a rein on your temper when provoked at work
  • biting back a sarcastic comment when your child disobeys
  • breathing deep, pausing and choosing to respond rather than react
  • choosing to feed the spirit rather than give in to the demands of the flesh
  • deciding to love someone not because you feel like it, but just because it’s right
  • forgiving when it is hard to forgive, or at least praying for God to help you do it

So, today, my challenge for you as a fellow brother or sister in Christ is simply this: do the next right thing.

And you, like Jesus, will experience the Father’s voice… “with [you] I am well pleased.”