[This post was originally written for Short Daily Devotions.]
Therefore go and make disciples of all nations… teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. Matt 28:19-20, NIV
Last year, my two oldest sons played in basketball leagues for the first time. Having already been learning and practicing other sports for years, starting a new sport raised a dilemma for them: would the humility of not being good yet, and the pain of spending many hours developing the necessary skills, be worth it?
The price to play basketball seemed frighteningly high.
CALLED TO TRAIN
Right before Jesus ascended into Heaven, he called on his disciples to make more disciples. Interestingly, he didn’t call his converts to make more converts.
The Biblical Greek word for “disciple” means “learner.” During New Testament times, this word was used for students of various subjects and disciplines.
It was even used “of a trainee athlete.”¹
I believe it is this nuance of the word that Jesus was intending in Matthew 28.
See, Jesus also called his Church to “be ready.” Much like my sons need to train for basketball season, you and I need to train for “that Day.” (Matt. 24:44, Luke 12:40)
TRAINING IN LOVE
“That Day” is the day when Darkness will battle against Light in one final, cosmic-sized battle (Rev. 5-18). Light will take victory, Darkness will be defeated, and the body of Christ will finally be ready to spend eternity with the Love of her life (Rev. 19:7–10, Rev. 21-22).
Yet until then, you and I live in the training field. Everything we come face to face with in life, begs the same question we’ll be faced with on that Day:
Will you believe my perfect love?
The truth is, all sin is failure to believe God’s perfect love.
This is why temptation keeps coming. It gives us opportunity to face that question time and time again.
See, if we’re not trained to unswervingly believe his love, when we’re tested on that Day, we will fail the exam. (1 John 2:28, Heb. 10:37-39)
You and I must learn to abide in his love now.
We abide in his love by deliberately recalling it, daringly believing it, spending time meditating on it, and consciously fighting to keep it in the forefront of our minds.
If we can become practiced in his perfect, unfailing love for us now, we will be confident in his perfect love then (see also John 15, Rom. 8:31-39, 1 John 4:16-17).
Just as my sons were asking themselves if they wanted to persevere in their basketball training, you and I must ask ourselves a similar question: are we willing to suffer training now, in order that we may be glorified with him then (Rom. 8:17)?
Before you answer, you should know that I have heard that it will be so worth it.
For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory that is to be revealed to us. (Rom. 8:18)
¹ Liddell, Henry George et al. A Greek-English lexicon 1996 : n. pag. Print.