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EQUIP: Week 1- Purpose of Discipleship

Week 1: Day 1 – Listening to That Other Voice

“The real problem with the Christian life comes the moment you wake up. All your wishes and hopes for the day rush at you like wild animals. And the first job each morning consists of shoving them back; in listening to that other voice, letting the other larger, stronger, quieter life come flowing in.” – C.S. Lewis [i]

As you seek to be molded into the person God wants you to be, you will be guided through a daily PRAY(er) rhythm in order to help you further process what you have just read. As an acronym (P.R.A.Y.), ‘P’: PAUSING to be still. ‘R’: REFLECTING on Scripture or learnings. ‘A’: ASKING God to help us and others on the journey and ‘Y’: YIELDING to his transformative work in our lives, no matter the cost.[ii]

P. R. A. Y.

Pause – Set prayerful intention

Today is day one of your eight-week equipping experience, and this week you are exploring the “why” behind the “what” of discipleship. Read the following prayer out loud:

As I enter prayer now, I pause to be still; to breathe slowly; to recenter my scattered senses upon the presence of God.

Jesus, my Savior, and Teacher, as I listen to your invitation to follow you, I ask you would soften my heart, sharpen my mind, and give me the courage to follow you again, today.

Read & Reflect

C.S. Lewis stresses the point that following Christ is both hard and easy. Jesus Christ calls us to give ourselves completely to Him – an almost impossible thing to do. Lewis argues, however, that the alternative IS impossible. One cannot be led by the natural world AND Christ – it’s one or the other! Every one of us has to make the choice to follow Jesus every day, and everywhere, with everyone.

READ Luke 14:25-33 (MSG)

One day when large groups of people were walking along with him, Jesus turned and told them, “Anyone who comes to me but refuses to let go of father, mother, spouse, children, brothers, sisters—yes, even one’s own self!—can’t be my disciple. Anyone who won’t shoulder his own cross and follow behind me can’t be my disciple.

“Is there anyone here who, planning to build a new house, doesn’t first sit down and figure the cost so you’ll know if you can complete it? If you only get the foundation laid and then run out of money, you’re going to look pretty foolish. Everyone passing by will poke fun at you: ‘He started something he couldn’t finish.’

“Or can you imagine a king going into battle against another king without first deciding whether it is possible with his ten thousand troops to face the twenty thousand troops of the other? And if he decides he can’t, won’t he send an emissary and work out a truce?

“Simply put, if you’re not willing to take what is dearest to you, whether plans or people and kiss it good-bye, you can’t be my disciple.”

Lewis paraphrases Jesus’ words saying, “Give me all. I don’t want so much of your time, money, and work: I want you. I have not come to torment your natural self, but to kill it. No half measures are any good. I don’t want to cut off a branch here and a branch there, I want to have the whole tree down. Hand over the whole natural self…I will give you a new self instead. In fact, I will give you Myself: my own will shall become yours.”

Consider the following questions:

  • What aspects of discipleship cause me pause or concern?
  • What are the reasons for my concerns?

Ask – Self-reflection

Matthew 11:29-30 (MSG) reads,

“Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.”

Reflect on the following question:

  • In what ways have I experienced the heavy burden of trying to remain in control of my life?

As you process God’s invitation for you to continue on your discipleship journey, take a moment and vulnerably share your excitement, concerns, and questions with him.

Yield – Read the following prayer out loud:

As I return to the invitation to follow Jesus every day, and everywhere, with everyone, Holy Spirit, open my heart to yield to your call in my life. I recognize I am not on this journey alone. You are with me. You’ve surrounded me with sisters and brothers who are on this journey as well. I invite you into the deepest places of my being. Jesus, I long to know you and be known by you. I yield my life to you once again. Today marks a new beginning in a lifelong journey of following you.

Scripture Memorization

Over this next week, we will memorize Luke 9:23-24 together. Hand write the following verses verbatim in a journal, notecard, or on a post-it note:

Then he said to them all, “If any want to become my followers, let them deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me. For those who want to save their life will lose it, and those who lose their life for my sake will save it.”