Becoming a Disciple of Jesus: Equipped to Do Works of Faith

Christian growth is a deeply personal and spiritual choice that recognizes our unending need for Jesus not only as Savior but also as LORD over our lives. That recognition sometimes comes after losing the things that seemed to matter most and humbly acknowledging before God that we need a new life and not just a better version of the old life, which produced little of lasting value.

Discipleship is not and never can be a self-improvement program, because self is actually a big part of the problem. Transforming our lives is not something we can do; because even on our best days, our sin nature opposes such transformation. As the Apostle Paul said, "For the good that I wish, I do not do; but I practice the very evil that I do not wish" (Rom. 7: 19). Our only hope for real change resides in Jesus' assurance that "what is impossible for man is possible for God."

Becoming a Disciple of Jesus provides a year in Christian growth composed of fifty-two weekly lessons that develop both our vertical relationship with God and our horizontal relationships with others through the works of faith which God has prepared for us. Each work of faith is accomplished by our belief in the Holy Spirit's ability to transform us into instruments of God's peace and love. Over time, this truth becomes both our heart's desire and a glorious reward as we gain freedom from the negative thought patterns and behaviors that previously governed our lives. Paradoxically, admitting the things we struggled with to God unleashes His healing presence at a deep heart level. As beings created in His image, we all resemble partially completed sculptures. God, the Master Sculptor, removes our undesirable traits so we can become complete as the persons He made us to be, able to use our God-given gifts to glorify Him as shining examples of His love.

--John F. Sandoz