Reading the familiar passage known as “The Great Commission” (Matthew 28:18-20), it struck me I’ve been listening more to others interpret this Scripture than reading it plainly for myself. What we often hear is this is the commandment to take the Gospel to the entire world so everyone has a chance to hear about Jesus. But this isn’t what Jesus commanded us to do. He didn’t command us to simply go and tell others about Jesus. He said to go and make disciples of all nations.

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Being a disciple goes far beyond merely hearing the gospel. It goes beyond believing in Jesus and even accepting Christ. Disciples are those whose lives are absolutely committed to the person and mission of Jesus Christ. We are to make disciples of all nations, not just make sure all nations have heard His name proclaimed.

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What matters most to you? Before you answer, you may want to review your last couple of days, weeks, months, and maybe even years. Would your actions leading up to today support your answer? I am guilty of allowing life to roll on too quickly without taking the time to make certain I’m not simply be dragged along with it.

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If you aren’t intentional about the way you are living, what difference does it make what’s most important to you? Unless you are living life on purpose you won’t be doing what matters most to you. That’s no way to live. We all want our lives to count, to mean something to someone. As followers of Christ, we all want our life to matter for the Kingdom.

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I have a friend who frequently laments they don’t have any gifts to use for the Kingdom. I have to consistently remind them if they have breath, then they have been created with a unique combination of skills, talents, and passions to be used for building the Kingdom of God here on earth. I will say the same thing to you: if you are breathing, you have gifts! No one is here by accident.

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While some gifts may be more visible and obvious than others, it takes all of us working together to accomplish the work Christ has given us to do. Never minimize your contribution, because you have the potential to do everything God intended you to do.

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We are the lucky ones. As followers of Christ, we cannot lose and we cannot fail. How many people strive for the same thing in their own lives? People try to ensure their legacy through success in business, relationships, entertainment, or adventure. In the end, they will all fail. They will lose everything they thought they were building. Disciples of Jesus are the true winners in this world.

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Christ Himself said those who lose everything for His sake will gain it all back and then some (Matthew 10:39; Matthew 19:29). I don’t know about you, but I’d rather spend my time acquiring what I cannot lose than squandering it collecting what disappears almost as soon as I obtain it. Because we collect eternal wealth and rewards, we are indeed the lucky ones.

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It’s easy to get discouraged in a world determined to tear us down. Every day we are bombarded with obstacles and difficult circumstances that get in the way of living the life we want to live. The death of a loved one, job loss, physical ailments, health concerns, rocky relationships, and flat-out fatigue push us to the brink. Sometimes we wonder if we’ll survive and are tempted to give up hope. It happens to all of us. No one is alone in feeling despair.

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This world is a fallen place, inhabited by dark forces seeking to destroy our dreams and aspirations. Above all, Satan is intent on foiling any attempt we make at drawing closer to God. He will stop at nothing to distract you from Christ. When discouragement comes, you need to change your perspective. You need to see this world for what it is and refocus on what matters.

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Laurie Cole makes a great distinction between Christians and disciples. The first is a believer, the latter a follower. I want to be a follower. I choose to be a follower. Indeed, there is no other way to become a disciple of Jesus. If you too want to be a disciple, you must choose to be one. This goes beyond mere belief. Anyone can believe in Christ. It takes but a moment, no effort, and need not have any demonstrable proof of our decision.

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Discipleship, on the other hand, takes a lifetime. It takes an extraordinary amount of effort and commitment on our part. There will be evidence of a dramatically changed life whose sole purpose becomes dramatically changing the lives of others. So, you must choose; will you be a believer or follower of Jesus?

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A couple of days ago I told the Lord I’m not playing anymore. I’m done with the pathetic commitment I’ve demonstrated in my life. No more. I’m done. I can’t take it anymore. There is Jesus and nothing else. I’m tired of living life as a split-personality, living for Christ one day, and for myself the next. Have you ever come to this point in your own life?

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There comes a moment when you recognize you are either going to live for Jesus or you aren’t. We can’t do this thing half-way. We’re in or we’re out; We are for Him or we are against Him. There is no middle ground. There has never been, and if we continue to live like there is, we are only fooling ourselves.

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The curse of mediocrity has infested the Western Church. Instead of blazing a trail of fire for the sake of the Kingdom, or even disappearing from the scene with cold hearts, we do just enough to let people know we’re still around, but never enough to make a difference. It’s disgusting to me in my own life and it’s intolerable for Jesus (Revelation 3:15-16). I learned the word mediocre has its origin in two Latin words which, translated literally, mean “halfway to the peak.” Half-way. Unfinished. Lazy. Uncommitted. This is the curse of mediocrity.

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A.W. Tozer noted of the origin of the word mediocre: “This makes it an apt description of the progress of many Christians. They are halfway up to the peak…. They are morally above the hardened sinner but they are spiritually beneath the shining saint…. Do we really think that this halfway Christian life is the best that Christ offers—the best that we can know? In the face of what Christ offers us, how can we settle for so little?”

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Are you settling for less than what God has for you? Do you even know if that is true in your life? How does one know if they are settling for less if they are not certain about what they have been created to do? I would say if you cannot answer the question of whether or not you are settling for less with an emphatic ‘No!’, then you probably are. People living out their God-given mission know because they are so in tune with God there can be no doubt.

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For the rest of us, we either suspect we are settling for less or we know for a fact we are. So, we have a two-fold problem: first, how do we know if we are settling for less, and second, what do we do about it if we are?

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Reading Christine Caine’s latest book, “Unexpected”, I was struck by the following phrase: “We cannot shrink back in fear and go forward in faith at the same time.” This is a truth we might know on an intellectual level, but we do not live it out well. So much of what we could do for Christ is hindered because of our fear. We’re afraid to move forward, afraid to look like a fool, afraid to be judged, afraid to lose our stuff, and at times even afraid for our physical well-being.

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Some of these fears are rational, but most are not. Ultimately none of them make sense because Jesus is bigger than all our fears. He has defeated the enemy and every evil which could come against us. Jesus is love, and He fully demonstrated this on the cross. Love drives out fear (1 John 4:18). It cannot coexist. When we trust fully in Jesus, we will know no fear.

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