In John 14-17, Jesus speaks very intently about who I am as His disciple and who He is as my Savior, Redeemer and brother who shows me how to live closely with our Father. The chapters are beautiful, filled with love and an intense entreaty to live a life connected 24/7 to Him. Jesus never spoke in compartments like being His disciple was a job that I lived in a shift and lived another part of my life “off-shift.”
My life is – my life. There was a time when I thought there was a “ministry” I was called to and I did that ministry much like I did my job as a nurse or a book editor. I “clocked in” and “clocked out” as I used the gifts God had given me to do ministry,implying I have time when the Disciple is “off duty” or “on vacation.” When would that be?
On that July night in 1996 when I said, “I am a sinner. I need a Savior. Father, please forgive me, through Jesus’ Blood.” I needed Jesus to wash my whole life, not just the 9-5 part. I knew that I could not live my life any more in my own power.
And so my life, my whole life, is a life of a Disciple. Whether I am in my home, in the grocery store or in church, or in a restaurant-bar with friends, I am Jesus’ disciple. I made that commitment 23 years ago and I have not backed out of the deal. Jesus has certainly kept His end of the contract!
Do I walk with a halo around my head? No. But I do walk in this world like an alien. People may observe that I “don’t quite seem like everyone else” and I am okay with that.
I ask Jesus to help me bring joy into everyone I meet. I greet people, strangers, in the grocery store. I give them a genuine smile. I want to “be nice.” “Be kind.” God has given me a gift to encourage others and I haven’t really met anyone yet who didn’t need some of that in their life, whether they were 10 and in school or 75 and slowly walking in a corridor at church or in a hospital.
Scenes in my every day life when I am me:
- at home: This may be the most forgotten and difficult place to be a disciple, whether it’s because I don’t put forth any effort or I think that my husband will love me no matter what, the fruit of the Spirit [love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness,gentleness, and self-control.- Galatians 5:22-22 NLT] is often lacking inside my home when I joyfully toss it around every where else!
- With friends: It is so important that I come across as the real me, no extra fake syrup on my life. Just letting God’s grace and mercy treat every relationship with those whom I love with the real feelings and beliefs that I have is a wonderful testimony to how God has really made a lasting change in my life.
- At work: Yes, I can live my life with Christ within the confines of the culture of the workplace. If my boss takes a hard line about praying in the lunchroom or offering prayer with a co-worker or client, then there is no restriction in silent prayer and I have seen phenomenal changes happen without my saying a single outloud word! God is not restricted by silence. I have seen the countenance on a comatose patient change in response to someone in the room praying.
- At Church: There is no place where we need prayer more and arguing less. To lay our concerns before God about the direction of our church or how our church is to fulfill the Great Commission, is all about maximum prayer and less arguing to convince people.
- Parking lots, malls, gas stations, etc – There are just so many opportunities to make someone’s day a little better if we just open our eyes and ask the Holy Spirit to point out the moments. Or maybe you see a mom/dad with children and they are all tired! Say a prayer for them. Right there. Silently. Say a prayer. We say we believe in the power of God – well unleash that power to bless someone who may really need it. You never know what the end result may be.
I was a hospice nurse for over 12 years. I went to many, many, many funerals. A common characteristic was the telling of stories, you might even call them testimonies, about the intangibles that the deceased showed in his/her life. I never heard about their piles of money or beautiful homes or big cars. Stories about opening their doors for people to share a meal or give them a ride to church or the doctor’s office. Maybe they came for a visit when the person needed someone to just hold their hand and listen. That is God’s love – with skin on it.
My life belongs to Jesus because He saved me. I am 100% His disciple. That’s my life focus and goal.