Discipleship: The Constant of Change


GUEST POST: Today’s guest post comes from my dad, Darrell Chatraw — a fitting tribute for Father’s Day week. When it comes to discipleship, my dad has modeled for me what this looks like in an effective and natural way. And while many church leaders admire pastors who build megachurches with thousands of weekly attendees, I prefer to admire a pastor (and father) whose lasting legacy will be the way he helped lead people into a relationship with Jesus that resulted in transformed lives. So, enjoy a small slice of his wisdom on discipleship today!

When I walked away from the youth soccer field that day I felt a sharp twinge of unsettledness in my soul. I recognized it as the uneasiness that comes when I have grieved God’s Spirit in me. Where did my attitude come from? The game was close and the officials, in my “expert, unbiased opinion,” had made some very bad calls which caused us to lose the match. Regretfully, I expressed my displeasure to the refs with great animation. I was now becoming painfully aware of my miserable, un-Christ-like attitude and actions. This was not the first time something like this had occurred, so what was my problem? Why was this attitude more pervasive in my life than I would have liked? As I searched my heart the Holy Spirit began to question me.

“Darrell, why is it so important for you to win a youth soccer game?”

Slowly the truth began to dawn on me.

“Well, it made me feel admired and loved by the kids and their parents if I, the great coach, lead them to victory,” I replied.

“Why do you need to feel that way?” came the next question.

The light began to shine on my problem.  I could see how may times other voices inside and out had questioned my value as a person.  I had always answered with stronger resolve to be better … to do better, thus supposedly increasing my value as a person.

Coaching soccer was something I thought I was pretty good at, so excelling as a coach gave me temporary sense of great self-worth. Then the damming lie was exposed: “Doesn’t the fact that I gave My life for you on the cross and made My home in your heart speak of your great worth to me? Why is that not enough for you?”

As the sentences formed in my heart and mind, I was keenly aware that my Savior was calling me to greater wholeness and holiness. When the truth comes and the lie is exposed, freedom follows close behind. The extra time spent allowing the Holy Spirit to search my heart helped identify and expose the lie hell had registered in my soul. I had been laboring under a set of false truths. Accepting God’s truth about me set me free from an unholy attitude about winning. How freeing it is to coach in a soccer match and have nothing to prove.

Ephesians 5:13 sums up my experience, “But all things that are exposed are made manifest by the light, for whatever makes manifest is light.” This is why successful disciples must spend time reading, studying and meditating on God’s word. We must make certain that we are spending time in thoughtful study of God’s word for the purpose of grasping truth … truth meant to transform us into God’s image.

The successful student of Jesus is always in the process of change – constantly being transformed to be like Jesus. The Apostle Paul uses the metaphor of walking in the light to convey this principle. The light we are to walk in is God’s Word.  “Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path,” declares the psalmist (119:105). The path we are traveling is designed to teach us to live in a way that mirrors Jesus’ character. In this walk we discover values and attitudes that are acceptable to the Lord … that mimic His values and attitudes. Making decisions based on the principles of God’s word will produce good and right choices based on reality (truth).

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