What does it mean to be a follower of Christ?? It’s a way of life..by that I mean it is both a way to eternal life and a way to a more abundant life here. Christ said he came to give both. (A) The book of Proverbs teaches that the wisdom of God is both life to those who find it and healing.(B) This message is to remind us of the practical everyday benefits of Christ to his disciples & parents. I have been shocked to realize that even many Christians (not just the World) have little concept of the practical benefits of God’s wisdom and following Christ’s example.
MOST SEMINARIES DO NOT HAVE CLASSES ON CHRIST’S LIFE. When I gave my life to Christ, I wanted to model Yahshua’s behavior. I discovered the condensed writing of Thomas a Kempis (1380-1471) called “Imitation of Christ” (so titled because he sought to imitate Christ), and found it very helpful for me to emulate Christ. How shocking then to discover seminaries do not teach on Yahshua’s life, and that I would meet ministers that did not realize that Christ provides us an example even for parenting. Yahshua provided a day-by-day role model for his disciples to watch & imitate like children naturally watch & imitate their parents. You’ll note that discipling and parenting are both long-term, life-time commitments. You’ll also note that both discipling & parenting are denigrated as not worth the time, not important. Girls are encouraged to become astronauts and CEOs, while motherhood is called being a “baby factory”. Christ called God “Heavenly Father”…the role of parent is the highest role. The most important people in a child’s life are his parents. And children go to their parents with their problems & questions like we go to our heavenly Father. One of Christ’s lessons to teach “servant leadership” to his disciples was to tell them to give the crowds something to eat!! (C) A Christlike parent is also to serve his children with “servant leadership”. I would characterize changing diapers & fixing meals as definitely servant leadership. And the call to discipleship & parenting often comes out of the blue when most people feel unprepared & perhaps even unqualified.
HOW CAN I ACHIEVE IT? Being a disciple or parent for Christ—modeling his behavior moment by moment—at first can seem daunting. We are called to do things beyond what we think we can achieve. Moses & Jonah and countless others felt overwhelmed. But God blessed them on the way. What seemed impossible is possible with God.(D)
GROWING PAINS. With our new birth, we were sure our heavenly Father would take care of all our needs. Indeed Christ called himself “the living bread that came down out of heaven.”(E) Little children mistakenly think that too, especially during that breastfeeding period. And indeed little children & Christ’s new disciples will often go through a “honeymoon” period where all their needs are provided. Finally disciples & children reach adulthood and discover they have been on a maturing journey to carry their own crosses! In the end the gate is narrow and the way hard. (F) It takes time to mature, so we need to abide in Christ as John 15 teaches.
FROM THE INSIDE—INTERNAL IS MORE IMPORTANT THAN EXTERNAL. Disciples & children (and parents) all need to transform themselves from the inside. This is the difference between religion & faith. It is the difference between church membership & the new birth holy Spirit anointing.
FINAL THOUGHTS. I have run out of time & this is perhaps long enough for readers. Has something been working for you health wise, or as a Christian parent, or as a disciple? If so perhaps you can share your practical wisdom on the thread. Being a follower of Christ is a way of life, and if he has called you to parenthood or discipling, don’t decline his call on your life. (cf MT 22:2-14) Be blessed my friend.
REFERENCES. (A) JN 10:10 (B) PRV 4:22 (C) MK 6:35-42 (D)MT 19:26 (E) JN 6:51 (F) MT 7:14