What are some key points the author is stating in this chapter?
In this chapter the author moves us from Jesus’ invitation of discipleship, ‘Follow Me’, to a decision expressed in what he states as ‘Total Commitment’. I love how he brings forth the distinction between are you ‘a fan’ of Jesus or ‘a true follower’. His comments certainly made me reflect on my own faith journey. His description of a ‘fan’ speaks about someone who knows about Jesus Christ and understand his role within the context of our religion as Catholics. However, ‘a true follower’ is someone who has surrendered their life to Christ, seeking to fulfill his plan for their life and the life of others. He makes us seriously reflect on the question “how would you currently define yourself? A ‘fan’ or ‘a true follower’?”.
As Jesus has done since the beginning, he seeks those who are willing to give a total commitment to him as disciples. The author reminds us that as Catholics we are called to do the same, to be his disciple. Discipleship represents a decisive turning point. True we might still fail at times as a disciple, but Jesus knows this will happen. Ed Sri reminds us that this decisive turning point, like the first disciples to follow Jesus, puts our personal relationship with Jesus above all things. Developing that relationship must be at the top of our ‘priority list’.
As Ed Sri shares with us, putting Jesus at the center of our lives we will discover that all of our other desires and concerns become realigned with the trust we have in Christ. As disciples we come to realize that God’s plan for us is bigger than what we have ever thought for ourselves because he desires us to be happy more than we can imagine. Toward the end of the chapter the author then asks us to look at key indicators that speak to trust and commitment: Where is your treasure; Are Your Happy; Surrender; Take, Lord, and Receive..; Seek First the Kingdom. All questions and statements that Jesus himself presented to his disciples.
How does this relate to my faith journey?
As I have spoken about in many different ways, Jesus Christ was not at the center of my life years ago. I knew about him in scriptures, I knew the importance of him as a Catholic, and I participated in the Liturgical calendar celebrations focused on him. Looking at my life years ago I can see how I was a ‘fan’ of Jesus Christ and not a ‘disciple’.
Looking back I see how there was a decisive turning point in my life. Years ago I came to realize that something was still missing in my faith life. Probably something similar to what some of the first disciples like Peter or John were experiencing before Jesus came along in their lives. They were living a ‘religious life’ as practicing Jews but their hearts were still searching for a deeper meaning to their faith in their lives. We both desired the same thing, a Messiah. When that switch came on, my heart awakened to the meaning of being Jesus’ disciple and not his fan.
Over time as I grew in a deeper relationship with Jesus, the treasures in life I seek, what defined inner happiness, and the control I thought I needed for my life all changed. My trust and commitment to the Lord grew. It continues to grow even today. Today I do ‘Seek First the Kingdom’. More about how I do this in another reflection.
How does this chapter encourage me to grow in discipleship?
The author’s words both affirm my current journey with Jesus as well as brings me even more hope for the future. When he stated at the end of the chapter “But my fundamental identity in Christ has made one thing clear: with Jesus as Lord of my life, I have experienced deep, lasting joy, peace, and purpose I never had before.”, I said to myself, “I want this to grow in my life”.
I know I can become complacent. It is easy to become complacent with my faith journey especially when things are ‘good’. But that is not reality in a broken world. Suffering is ever present and we need to be with Jesus each and every day. If I continue to grow in my relationship with him, the sense of peace, faith, joy, surrender, repentance and his love grows deeper. His wisdom, counsel, knowledge, understanding and fortitude grows preparing me to overcome the suffering of this world and leading me toward my redemption.
I hope that you have found these words encouraging and reflective. Thank you for taking the time to read this reflection. If you would like to share your thoughts you can either visit the Facebook page or you can fill out the form below and your thoughts will be emailed to me.
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Your friend in Christ,