Why making disciples is not an optional extra for any Christian

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Many Christians think of discipleship and see it as an optional call that Jesus gives to those who are interested in adding souls to the kingdom. However, a proper study of God's commands and the nature of our faith will show us that the call to disciple others is not an option but a command given to all and to be obeyed by all.

Matthew 28:19-20 says, "Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age." This was a command given to a handful of Jesus' followers directly, but one that - if we truly understand it - is given to every person who follows Jesus.

Discipleship is simply building relationship with others with the intent of helping them follow Jesus Christ. Christians who do not make disciples have various reasons why they don't do so - they don't feel called to it, it's the pastor's job, I don't have time, I'm not a people person and so on.

When we read the greatest commandment, it really points us to discipleship. Luke 10:27 says, "You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind, and your neighbor as yourself."

How does the greatest command connect to discipleship? When we truly love God, we will love every command He has given us. It's not that we are obliged or compelled to, but if we truly understand what Jesus has done for us, it will become a delight to serve Him with all our hearts, and help others experience the same blessing we now have in Christ. That sounds a whole lot like discipleship.

On top of that, Jesus also commands us to love our neighbours, and one primary way we express that is by serving and helping them. The greatest need people have is not free service, money or advice but a guiding hand to help lead them to Jesus Christ. Again that sounds a whole lot like discipleship.

In a nutshell, the great command really has everything to do with loving God and loving others and to truly understand how we express that love is to know that we cannot do so without responding to the universal call to disciple others.

Discipleship is never easy, but God promises us that as we set out to carry out His command to make disciples in our offices, homes, campuses, gyms, parlours and wherever we go, that He will be "with you always, to the end of the age."

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