“Life is war. That’s not all it is. But it is always that.” says John Piper in his book “Let The Nations Be Glad!”, and he’s right. The war which he refers to is not one of flesh and blood, but one of a spiritual nature. It is a war between the Kingdom of God and the temporary dominion of Satan. However, while it is a spiritual war, it involves the physical realm that we live in as well. Why, because no one can be a pacifist in this war. You simply must belong to one side or the other. In fact, from the time we are born we belong to Satan’s camp. It is only though the aid of the Holy Spirit that we are able to escape to Jesus’ side. Once we have been rescued to Jesus’ camp we are called to be soldiers. Our marching orders are found in Matthew 28:19: “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” (ESV).
It is “make disciples” that I am thinking about in this post. The question is do we really know what it means? Over the years we seem to have devoted much time to the baptism part of the passage, yet we seem to have ignored in large part the command to make disciples. In light of the idea of warfare above, I would suggest that we are called to train new troops. Consider Paul’s words to the Ephesians:
“Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might. Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil. For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places. Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand firm. Stand therefore, having fastened on the belt of truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness, and, as shoes for your feet, having put on the readiness given by the gospel of peace. In all circumstances take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming darts of the evil one; and take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God, praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication. To that end keep alert with all perseverance, making supplication for all the saints, and also for me, that words may be given to me in opening my mouth boldly to proclaim the mystery of the gospel, for which I am an ambassador in chains, that I may declare it boldly, as I ought to speak.” – Ephesians 6:10-20 (ESV)
With all this in mind imagine for a moment if discipleship looked more like this. (Figuratively speaking of course :-))