Wednesday, 31 December 2014

The History Channel recently produced an info graphic: "New Year's by the Numbers." Among the interesting facts I noticed was that 45% of Americans make New Year's resolutions. The most popular resolutions are losing weight, getting organized, spending less and saving more, staying fit and healthy, and quitting smoking. Of those who make resolutions, 75% are able to keep them for at least a week, but by 26 weeks only 46% have enough resolve to keep their resolutions.

Benjamin Franklin is credited with saying, "Be at war with your vices, at peace with your neighbors, and let every new year find you a better man {or woman}." It is in that spirit that a little less than half of us make New Year's resolutions; we want to be better people.

In our life of faith this means being a disciple of Jesus Christ. In English, the word disciple is from the same root as discipline. In the Greek of the New Testament disciple is a noun form of the verb "to learn." A disciple is a learner; I would suggest a life-long learner.

The danger is that we make being a disciple solely a matter of learning new stuff about God. That would, I'm afraid, miss the point.

In Jesus' day it was said that a disciple needed to be covered in the dust of his or her Rabbi (teacher). That is a word picture that means the disciple is to follow his or her teacher so closely that the dust the Rabbi was kicking up as he walked would cover the disciple. The disciple was striving to be like his or her Rabbi down to the tiniest detail.

That too, could miss the point. To be a disciple of Jesus is more than mastering content or modifying behavior. Learning and doing are part of being Christ's disciples, but they are not the heart of what we are called to be. The heart of being Christ's disciple is falling in love with Jesus. It is the greatest commandment and it demands our all: all our intellect and all our actions (Deuteronomy 11:13 and Matthew 22:37-38).

Certainly what we know and what we do are how that all encompassing love for God is expressed. Love for God is visible most clearly in our love for each other. Jesus said, "By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another." (John 13: 35)

Disciples love. I pray that 2015 is a year that you fall more in love with your Savior. May that love for Jesus be clearly seen in your love for others.

In Christ,

Pastor Dan Czaplewski

Posted on 12/31/2014 9:05 AM by Pastor Daniel P. Czaplewski
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