Driven to Discipleship? :: By Holly Spate

Do you ever get the feeling that this world is spinning out of control? Does it seem like earth’s clock is ticking and there’s something momentous around the corner? Are you grieved by the depravity that’s celebrated and settled into hearts? Do you feel the urge to get your house in order and your heart prepared while there’s still time?

Ephesians 2:10 reminds us to prepare and ready ourselves, “For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.”

1 Peter 1:13 states, “Therefore, with minds that are alert and fully sober, set your hope on the grace to be brought to you when Jesus Christ is revealed at his coming.”

Every day, we grow that much nearer to the day of Christ’s return. As believers we are redeemed and promised eternal life with our awesome Creator…forever! We know that whatever trials we endure here and now are just a mere mark in a brief moment of time. We are not yet home.

This knowledge should bring hope to our hearts and peace to our minds. We should wake up each day with joy-filled hearts knowing that one day, maybe very soon, we will see our Savior face to face.

One day we will have the awesome blessing of spending the rest of our lives with Him in the perfect place He’s fashioned and prepared for us. A place like nothing we’ve experienced before. A place where there will be no more shedding of tears, no more setbacks, disappointments, sickness, evil or injustice. A place void of all darkness and sin. A place filled with the light and love of the One who created both.

Revelation 21:3-4 reminds us of this incredible time to come, “And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, ‘Look! God’s dwelling place is now among the people, and he will dwell with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.’”

To that day we look forward with great anticipation.

While we rejoice in these truths, our hearts can’t turn a blind eye to those who are still in the darknesswhose eternities are a question markwhose futures are not secure. There are so many who have not yet made the decision to trust in Christ. They are our friends, co-workers, strangers on the streets, and members within our own families. There are so many lost people in our worldpeople trying to fill the void with things that will never truly, never permanently satisfy.

There’s so much confusion, deception, and distraction vying for attention. So many idols soughtso many insignificant things filling hearts and minds. Yet nothing, absolutely nothing this world has to offer, can bring real peace. Nothing can truly change, satisfy, and complete the human heart apart from the One who created it. Only the One who formed it, breathed life into it, and keeps it beating, can save, mend, and complete it.

Sadly, most of us know too many people that have not made the decision to follow Christ. How do they cope with tragedy in their lives if they don’t have the Savior? How do they find forgiveness that settles the soul if they are void of the Only one that can forgive them of their sins? How do they make sense of a world that’s turned upside down? How do they cope with losing a loved one or calm themselves and keep a peaceful heart through all the storms of life?

Even the most moral of individuals, the most mature of believers, can find it hard to cope with all they see in the news and all the perversion and evil that’s invaded society. Now, just imagine if God wasn’t a part of the equation. Even for the believer, life can bear down hard. No one is immune to struggles this side of heaven.

Jesus himself said the following: “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world” (John 16:33).

We all will have struggles, but believers have a peace and assurance in knowing that Jesus has overcome it all and that a bright future awaits! The Bible also serves as a blueprint, giving believers a clearer glimpse into the future, helping us better understand what’s happening now in our world. But what does the unbeliever have for true peace? What does the unbeliever have other than what the world has to offer that will one day fade away?

The darkness in our world desperately needs the light of truth to shine brightly. The world needs to see believers be effective disciples. Hope needs to be shared, prayers need to be prayed, and love needs to be sown and invested into people’s lives.

1 Peter 3:15-16 says, “But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect, keeping a clear conscience, so that those who speak maliciously against your good behavior in Christ may be ashamed of their slander.”

We need to prepare ourselves so we can be effective disciples for Christ. We’re never to lose sight of the fact that eternity is FOREVEReveryone’s. Let that truth settle into your soul a bit.

Contemplate on the thought of “forever.’’ It’s actually mind boggling to think about! It’s hard to imagine that when we each breathe our last breath we will spend eternity with God or apart from him FOREVER. There is no decision that can be made after the fact. There is no more mercy given, no new day to start anew, no opportunity to accept Christ after that moment. No ability to turn things around and changeever. When that last breath is taken on earth, it will be settled, once and for all. The decision will be eternal.

John 3:17 makes it clear that God wants all to be saved. “For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.”

Are you compelled in these dark days to be an effective disciple of the Savior? Are you ready to let God shine through you to a world in desperate need of His light, love and hope?

The need is great. The time is short. Are you ready to make an eternal difference today… tomorrowas long as you have breath?

Is your heart driven to discipleship?