By Anand Mahadevan

Discipleship was an alien concept to us when we first came to Mumbai and became a part of Bombay Baptist Church, about seven years ago. In my walk with Jesus Christ earlier, I had received wonderful advice from many pastors, elders, cell leaders, brothers and sisters. But I had never opened myself to a full-fledged discipleship relationship.

Things changed soon after when Pastor Joemon Joseph gently led me into a disciple relationship with him. Since then, my wife Ajitha and I have
been blessed by the enormous input Joe and his wife, Sunitha have sown into our lives. As we look back, we can see transformation in every area that we have opened up in discipleship, be it marriage, parenting, work, finances, ministry and of course, our walk with God.

Was it easy to open up our lives to them?

The short answer to that question – yes, it was, because they led us gently and gradually.

And the long answer to the same question – there were two parts to the process. First, there were areas we asked for their help and guidance.
Second, there were areas they challenged and corrected us. The first was easier to accept than the second!

But as we look back, it is clear we have been more blessed in the areas they took the initiative to guide and correct us than in the areas we asked for help!

That’s the first lesson we learnt – we need to be open to both parts of the process.

Discipleship is not a” band-aid” type “quick- fix” that I seek every time I am bruised by life. It is, on the contrary, a long-term, whole-life package
for good times and hard.

And it is Christ Himself, who intended discipleship to be like this; not just our disciplers.This realisation helped us to open up.

The first step of committing ourselves to discipleship was the most important. This was a step in faith, not by sight. This decision was based not just in the trust we placed on our disciplers; but greater still, it was our faith in Christ that helped us take the plunge. The subsequent steps were all surprisingly easy. Everything just flowed smoothly from the first act of commitment.

The second learning was to accept correction. Joe and Sunitha gave us plenty of that – and it was all in love and always very gently, but also in truth.

More recently, the real key that has helped us open up is a deeper realisation and application of the fullness of the Gospel. I am able to stand before God not on the strength of my ‘good’ performance, but on the strength of Christ’s ‘perfect’ performance on my behalf.

As this truth, began to sink into our hearts every day, the need to present a ‘good image’ of our selves began to diminish. Hesitation to face our
failings went away. We no longer have any need to hide. Ultimately, it is the Gospel and the good news of our acceptance before God that has really helped us to open up in discipleship.