“You [the church in Thessalonica] became imitators of us [Paul, Silas and Timothy] and of the Lord…And so you became a model to all the believers in
1 Thessalonians 1:6, 7
This is the most succinct summary of what discipleship is: that we find, in someone else, a life that we want to have ourselves; and that, as we embrace that way of life, others are attracted to what they see in us, and seek to embrace that life themselves.
Everyone is a disciple. Our values are shaped by the values held out by someone else; and in turn our values shape the values of others. The other night I was watching a programme about the impact of pornography on the attitudes of school children towards the female body. Boys look at airbrushed and surgically ‘enhanced’ images, and girls feel a massive pressure to conform to that un-reality. In a country that (rightly) rejects the genital mutilation of female circumcision, imposed by religious pressure, the genital mutilation of labiaplasty has increased 300% in 5 years, imposed, albeit more subtly, by the pressure exerted by the porn industry. Everyone is a disciple.
Who wants the life you are living?
If no-one, why not? What are you modelling?
(Do you want the life you are living? If not, whose life do you aspire to, and why?)
If someone, how are you helping them to have that life?