I’m currently reading Your Church is Too Safe by Mark Buchanan. I was deeply, deeply convicted by this section:
At some point we stopped calling Christians disciples and started calling them believers. A disciple is one who follows and imitates Jesus. She loses her life in order to find it. She steeps in the language and culture of Christ until His Word and his world reshape hers, redefine her, change inside out how she sees and thinks and dreams and, finally, lives. Whatever values she brought into his realm are reordered, ofttimes laid waste, and kingdom values take their place.
Friends who knew her before scarcely recognize her now.
A believer, not so. She holds certain beliefs, but how deep down these go depends on the weather or her mood. She can get defensive, sometimes bristlingly so, about her beliefs, but in her honest moments she wonders why they’ve made such scant difference. She still feels alone, afraid, sad, self-protective, dissatisfied. She still wants what she’s always wanted and fears what she’s always feared, sometimes more so. Friends who knew her before find her pretty much the same, just angrier.
You can’t be a disciple without being a believer. But—here’s the rub—you can be a believer and not be a disciple. You can say all the right things, think all the right things, believe all the right things, do all the right things, and still not follow and imitate Jesus.
The kingdom of God is made up of travailers, but our churches are largely populated with tourists. The kingdom is full of disciples, but our churches are filled with believers. It’s no wonder we often feel like we’re just going in circles.
pp 54-55, Your Church is Too Safe by Mark Buchanan (Zondervan, March, 2012)