Why Jesus Isn’t My Buddy

As soon as I mention the first topic in our series on characteristics of a disciplemaker, you may be tempted to say, “Oh, that’s discipleship 101! No need to read this.” Not so fast. I suspect that we, like the religious leaders of Jesus’ day, may need a reminder of easily forgotten, life-altering truths.

At times, it seems growing in relationship with God, the first characteristic of a disciplemaker, can easily be reduced to seeing ourselves as Jesus’ buddy. It is a tragedy. If we operate viewing Jesus only as our buddy, we can be left with only a powerless veneer of spirituality for ourselves and a cheap replica to pass along. Howard Hendricks, a well-loved professor at Dallas Seminary was known to say, “You cannot impart what you do not possess!”

Each week I meet with local business leaders and we have been discussing three realities that make walking with God much more than a stroll with a friend:

1) Power. The apostle Paul reminds us regularly that the Christ-life is one of power.

I pray also that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know… his incomparably great power for us who believe. That power is like the working of his mighty strength, which he exerted in Christ when he raised him from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly realms . . . (Ephesians 1:18-20 NIV 1984).

2) Provision. For Paul, the gospel was not just a ticket to heaven, but a relationship of transforming provision because of the indwelling Spirit of Christ.

For in Christ all the fullness of the Deity lives in bodily form, and you have been given fullness in Christ . . . (Colossians 2:9-10 NIV 1984).

3) Presence. Part of walking with the Lord Jesus is the wonderful promise of spiritual presence and companionship with Jesus through the Holy Spirit. What a comfort to have Him always near.

“And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age” (Matthew 28:20b NIV 1984).

Let’s remember that walking with God is a supernatural way of life—one in which we experience His power, benefit from His provision, and are never alone because of His presence. I trust that this is the Christ-life we are passing along to those we disciple.

Where have you seen the power, provision, and presence of Jesus in your life?

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