Let me start by very quickly defining my understanding of what it means to be a disciple of Jesus: My end goal is to be like Him, and the whole of my life is best utilized when directed toward this task. Thus, everything in life can be considered “discipleship” when understood correctly and carried out with that informed intent. This includes both work on oneself (being a disciple) and building relationships with others (making disciples). I am passionate about this topic because this is Jesus’ plan for transforming the world: Us, His disciples, at the direction and with the help of the Holy Spirit, going and making other disciples. That’s it. There is no Plan B. I have a lot to learn and plenty of growing to do, but I am most definitely clear on the mission and committed to seeing it through!
In terms of books that have had a significant influence on my daily discipleship practices and helping me understand them better, Chris Suitt’s More Than a Sunday Faith is one of the top two or three I have read over the course of at least the last five years. Other volumes of similar quality, although not necessarily similar content, would be Nee’s The Normal Christian Life and Willard’s The Spirit of the Disciplines, to name just two.
While I am admittedly not well read in this area, what Suitt’s book adds that I have not encountered before is a very helpful and exceedingly practical guide for exactly how to grow and mature in one’s faith, especially in the face of habitual patterns of sin and disobedience. I am familiar with very helpful counsel from sources like the Celebrate Recovery curriculum, which is essentially a commentary on the Beatitudes from Matthew 5. However, these resources, and others like them, bear the stigma of “addiction recovery” and so are usually overlooked by otherwise earnest disciples whose sinful coping mechanisms do not fall into what is generally considered “recovery”. But I have learned the truth that we are all recovering from an “addiction” to some drug of choice, even if that drug would not be classified by most as such (overeating, pride, lying, complaining, etc.). We all suffer from an “addiction” to self and having things our own way, and each of these resources hopes to help the sincere seeker make some headway in dying daily to self so that we may then take up our cross and follow Him. Suitt’s book is in that same vein and will appeal (hopefully!) to those disciples who do not claim a need to “recover” from something.
I was thoroughly impressed with the book on my first read-through, enough so that I very quickly got together a small group of men with whom to work through the material together. We will be doing that over weekly breakfasts for the next few months. I believe this is an important, helpful little book, and I hope to see many more find it for their own use. To that end, as we work through it, I’ll be posting my thoughts and the insights of the group here.
Further up and further in!