Years ago my wife got sick, and I had to man up for dinner. I went all out to show my new bride how much I loved her, and made the biggest baddest tuna casserole she had ever seen (it was the only non-grilling dish I could make). Fresh vegetables, sauteed mushrooms, with a layer of breadcrumbs and cheese on top. It looked fantastic! Then we sat down to eat, and I soon realized I left out the tuna! Tuna casserole is not tuna casserole without the tuna. I missed the whole thing. She still reminds me. When key ingredients get left out you get left with something altogether different, and it seems much of the church has done this with discipleship.
For many commitment to Christ has been little more than walking the aisle, saying a prayer, or getting baptized, but there is so much more to it than this. A point of commitment is great, but a changed life should also ensue. Acts 2 succinctly highlights this this. The early church first experienced a moment of accepting the message of Christ and baptism (Acts 2:41), and then came a life of devotion in (Acts 2:42-46). Read the text to see this lifestyle:
They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. 43 Everyone was filled with awe, and many wonders and miraculous signs were done by the apostles. 44 All the believers were together and had everything in common. 45 Selling their possessions and goods, they gave to anyone as he had need. 46 Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, 47 praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved. (Acts 2:42-47 NIV)
What follows baptism in the New Testament is a life of discipleship. It is a life of being devoted to Bible reading, prayer, hanging with other believers, and giving of yourself to help others in need. It means your faith is producing something in your life and being witnessed by those around you. There is a devotion to Christ and the things he calls us to do.
Many Christians today want the message of salvation but they are unwilling to leave behind their lifestyle of contentment, ease, and selfishness. Their life looks nothing like the early church and what Christ calls them to do. Christianity without discipleship is as peculiar as tuna casserole without the tuna. You are not simply missing an ingredient, you are missing the essence. Those who are disappointed in the Christianity they were taught to believe might be encouraged that there is a far more substantive faith to experience.