I recently came across the thoughts of a guy I respect and I thought I would pass along some of his insight.
I remember being in a Bible study once when the teacher pulled out a book about discipleship and read ten or so characteristics of a disciple. They were things like being holy and devoted and knowledgeable and all that. They sounded nothing like the characteristics of the disciples in the Bible. The author was well meaning, of course, but it’s no doubt tempting to hang a carrot in front of people telling them they have to “become” in order to be used by God rather than admitting they actually “become” while they are in the process of being used by God. It’s an important paradigm shift for all of us because otherwise we’d be too intimidated to take the first step.
Here are some actual characteristics of the disciples I think we can safely trust. If you resonate with any of these, you’re in a good spot and likely following Jesus:
1. You think Jesus wants to take over the government so you cut off a soldiers ear in order to get the fighting started. (The neo cons are definitely disciples!)
2. You keep pestering Jesus about who he will give more power to in heaven.
3. You have no theological training but own a small fishing business which somehow makes you qualified because you “get it.”
4. The Holy Spirit crashes into one of your mini sermons so everybody can speak different languages and outsiders think you’re drunk.
5. People ask you if you know Jesus and you freak out and say no and run away.
6. You hear they killed Jesus on a cross and you figure the whole thing was a wash and you got duped.
7. You choose other disciples by playing rock, paper scissors.
8. You teach bad theology and have to have somebody else come over and correct you.
So there you go. My guess is there’s a place in there for you. So if you’re confused about theology or power hungry or just an average idiot, take the first step. You’ll get sorted out along the way. The disciples “became” some pretty great guys in the end.