“People ask me sometimes what keeps me going, and in truth it’s selfishness, because I want God’s best. I came to Christ because of the quality of life that these other guys had that I knew. I’m selfish – I want God’s best right up until the day I die.”
Have you noticed the theme that runs through every Olympic medalist’s response?
Everyone who stands on the podium – though excited to be there – is already yearning for the next competition’s gold. That one win is be enough.
In their responses, do you hear a lack of contentment? Or do you hear the echo of Paul’s impassioned declaration in Philippians 3: “Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.”
We’ve heard it asked more than once, “What does it mean to apprentice to Christ’s Kingdom? What is The Apprentice Approach?”
The first step in apprenticing yourself to Christ and His Kingdom is simply this: to desire, crave, passionately pursue God’s best no matter what. To yearn for His presence, His provision, His plan and do whatever it takes to get it.
But God’s best – while simple – is not easy. And while Jesus promises joy and peace, He also promises that we will have many troubles, and that His presence requires abiding and obedience.
Because Jesus knows that our best is actually in Him, in being His disciple. “Come, follow me,” He said. “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me,” He said. “And I will make you fishers of men,” He said.
Thus, in following Him and becoming like Him, we lay our lives – our desires – down, taking up His life, in order to fully be our best – God’s best. It’s in that fullness that we will long to introduce others to Him. Therefore, in view of His mercy and the great grace and kindness He’s given us, we offer ourselves as living sacrifices – not just to Him, but on behalf of the people around us. We sacrifice ourselves – our wants and even our needs – in order to serve the people around us, just like He did. Because to love and serve the people around us is to bear fruit. To bear fruit is to be his disciple. And to be his disciple is to glorify God and abide in His good.
But then the “good” gets even “better.” Jesus asks – commands – us to take our relationship to Him one step further: don’t just be His disciple. Now, go and make disciples. Paul paraphrases Jesus’ Great Commission in 2 Timothy 2:2: “And the things you have heard me say in the presence of many witnesses entrust to reliable people who will also be qualified to teach others.” This is what it means to apprentice yourself to Christ’s Kingdom: Go make disciples who will make more disciples. Don’t be content with one gold medal – being Christ’s disciple. Don’t be content with two gold medals – your discipleship to Christ and another’s. Be selfish for Christ’s Kingdom and His favor! Give your life to making as many disciple-making disciples as you can. Right up until the day you die, so eagerly desire God’s best that you’ll give your best to Him.