January 26, 2020 – Discipleship as Grit

Posted on January 28, 2020

Home Sermon January 26, 2020 – Discipleship as Grit

January 26, 2020 – Discipleship as Grit

Imagine that you are a fisher.

That is your job.

You catch fish for a living.

This occupation has been in your family for many years.

It is your livelihood.

It is how you feed your family.

And then suddenly a stranger approaches.

A serious, strong, and peaceful man with piercing eyes calls out to you.

“Follow me,” he says to you.

“Come and follow me and I will make you fish for people.”

Without hesitation you drop your nets.

You come and you follow this man.

You do not know where your journey will take you.

You only know that this man will be your teacher.

And so you choose to follow him knowing that your choice will make all the difference in the world.

You now have a new life, a new identity, a new calling.

You are now on the road to discipleship.

You immediately recognize that this road will not be easy.

After all, you just gave up your livelihood.

You just gave up everything that you know.

Your world was fishing.

You were a fisherman and now are a disciple, a learner, a follower of this man.

You were trained to catch fish and now you will be trained to chase after God’s people in order to bring them to Jesus.

This is your new job.

This is your new calling.

Are you up for the job?

Do you have what it takes to be a disciple of Jesus?

As we think about these questions let’s consider for a moment the men and women of the Bible who were called by God.

When you read the Bible you quickly discover that God calls people who are not necessarily the people you would think would be God’s first choice.

God often chose people in the Bible with plenty of flaws.

For example, Abraham had tremendous faith but in his life he also did some very selfish things.

At one point in the Bible he gave up his wife in order to save himself.

Or take this example, the great King, King David who wrote many of the Psalms at one point in the Bible commits murder.

Jonah ran away from God.

Peter denied Jesus three times.

Martha was distracted with worry.

Zacchaeus was very greedy and hungry for money.

Paul persecuted Christians.

And the fisherman that Jesus called were of course, not part of the elite, religious company of people at that time.

These people did not pour over the Holy Scriptures for hours on end while memorizing every single letter of the Torah.

No they simply did their job while hoping that at the end of the day they caught enough fish to make it so that they could have another day to fish.

But God gave to these fishermen something quite remarkable so that they could eventually fully hear and respond to God’s calling.

They all received something from God so that they could put away their excuses, their fears, there worries, and their lack of faith.

God gave them strength.

Let’s take that in for a moment here because that is significant.

God gave to the fisherman real strength so that they could be true disciples of Jesus.

That inner strength began working in and through them in the very hour that they choose to follow Jesus, then throughout their entire time with Jesus, and finally it was even more fully realized within them on the Day of Pentecost when the Holy Spirit breathed new life and fire within them.

In today’s context we might say that God gave the disciples:  grit.

Grit is the idea that you possess a certain amount of passion, perseverance, and drive towards a goal.

And grit compels you towards the goal even when you are faced with challenges, obstacles, and distractions.

When it comes to grit it matters more that you have this inner strength than to possess skill, talent, or even intelligence.

Grit keeps you going on a task or a goal even when you want to give up.

It’s that inner conviction in your heart that keeps you going when everything in side of you says to stop what you are doing.

In the Bible the disciples had grit.

They were not superior religious people.

They even got scared and abandoned Jesus in his hour of need just before he was crucified.

And yet according to church tradition many of the disciples were martyred for their faith in Jesus.

They died for their faith.

The disciples ended up showing a tremendous amount of grit.

These ordinary, common fisherman end up being heroes of the faith.

They are an inspiration to us even today.

What did the disciples have?

The disciples had grit.

Now how does this apply to us?

God calls us.

But discipleship is not always easy.

In fact, for the early Christians they knew that being a disciple of Jesus might cost you your life.

In today’s world, thankfully we do not have this concern but even still being a disciple of Jesus takes work, effort, and sacrifice.

Being a disciple of Jesus takes a radical response on our part.

The good news here is that as Jesus calls us he does something else.

Jesus and God send to us the Holy Spirit.

You might look at the Holy Spirit as the great strengthener of our faith.

In a word the Holy Spirit gives us grit.

The Holy Spirit gives us that inner strength to follow Jesus and to be a disciple of Jesus even in the face of doubt, weakness, or fatigue.

The Holy Spirit gives to us that boost to keep going in faith.

The Holy Spirit makes us a gritty group of disciples of Jesus.

Now go back once again and picture yourself with Jesus.

Imagine him calling you.

Feel the power of the Holy Spirit coming upon you.

Know that through the power of God at work in you you have the grit to be a Jesus follower.

You do have the inner strength to be a disciple of the Lord.

Again and again I have seen that that is the quality that disciples have.

Disciples of Jesus have that inner grit within them that keeps them focused on the Word of God, on prayer, on worship, on service, and most especially on the cross of Christ.

Trust that as Jesus calls us into deeper discipleship that the Holy Spirit will give us the grit to remain faithful to the calling that God has given to each one of us.

This coming week claim this gift, the gift of grit, that inner strength that God gives to his followers so that we might stay strong in our faith while telling to others that great story of Jesus and his love.

Last Sunday we recalled that great invitation that Jesus gave to the two disciples to come and to see.

Today he issues the command to come and follow him.

With grit we follow Jesus.

We know by faith that the Spirit empowers those who Jesus calls.

This coming week may our prayer be that we be filled with the Spirit, so that the Spirit might give voice to our actions and words, while transforming us into fishers of people.

Amen.

 

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