One of the phrases that Todd Shupe hears from fellow Christians quite often is one that gives him both joy and concern: “I am saved!” Quite often, the person has recently been born again and is joyous and with good reason: They have accepted Christ into their life and have accepted Him as their Lord and Savior. However, after speaking with the person, Todd Shupe begins to realize that they feel that they are now “good with God” and there is no need for anything else.
“I rejoice when another brother or sister has decided to give their life to Christ. However, I lament that the church universal has not properly conveyed the discipleship process to new Christians,” Todd Shupe said recently.
As a disciple of Christ, we are called into action. It’s true that not all of us are able to participate in physical ministries such as Habitat for Humanity or travel to foreign countries on mission trips. However, all of us are able to do non-physical tasks that are also needed to build the Kingdom; we can all offer a smile or a kind word to our neighbor and we can all pray for those in need. All of these are necessary to build up our fellow Christians and ourselves, Todd Shupe said recently.
It is great to believe in Christ and to accept Christ, but remember that even the enemy believes in God (James 2:19). What God needs is your hands and feet, “For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also,” (James 2:26).
As a born-again Christian, our eyes and hearts are now open to the love of Christ. Todd Shupe warns that this love is not to be stored, but received and given to others. Discipleship is a life-long process of growing closer to Christ. This is not accomplished by just attending church on Sundays. However, participation in worship is very important because we need to be full-time Christians and not just on Sunday mornings. We must engage in some sort of Christian action and we need to read and study scripture. We need to pray for ourselves, spouses, family, clergy, and the entire Body of Christ. Our life should be lived as a witness to God. This is true evangelism and this is the mark of a disciple.
At the same time, it is important to realize that we will miss the mark. Sin is the human condition and is inevitable. We will not go through life as perfect angels. According to Todd Shupe, we can acknowledge our sins, apologize to those that we have offended and repent our sins to God. Then, on our final day we can be presented to “blameless and pure, children of God without fault in a warped and crooked generation,” (Philippians 2:15). “Then you will shine among them like stars in the sky and hear the words well down my good and faithful servant,” (Matthew 25:23).