Parenting As Discipleship -- By: John P. Allison

Journal: Ashland Theological Journal
Volume: ATJ 29:0 (NA 1997)
Article: Parenting As Discipleship
Author: John P. Allison

Parenting As Discipleship

John P. Allison

Judy V. Allison

John Allison (B.S. Ed., Ashland University) is an M.Div. student at ATS. Judy Allison (B.A., Taylor; M. A., Ph.D., Ball State) is an Assistant Professor of Pastoral Counseling at ATS. They are son and daughter-in-law of Richard Allison, the dedicatee of this volume.

“Follow me.” With these simple words, Jesus called people into a relationship with him that would change and form their lives, and the lives of millions of others, more than any of them could possibly have imagined. Jesus said to Peter, a fisherman, “Come, follow me.” (Matt. 4:19) Peter laid down his net, followed Jesus and became the rock upon which Christ would build His church. Scripture records that Jesus used these simple words to call Andrew, James, John, Matthew, Philip, the rich young man and many others.

“Follow me.” The command sounds easy enough; a call to go where Jesus goes and do what He does. None of those mentioned above, however, knew how far Jesus was going to go or the magnitude of what He was going to do. He led all who followed Him on a life-changing, mindbending journey to eternity. It was a call that had to be responded to every day of their lives—not a single response, but a lifestyle of following Him.

“Follow me.” From the time of his earthly ministry to the present Jesus continues to use these same words to call disciples to a life of service and obedience. Christians are called to be followers of Jesus; a people who look to Him and His life as the model by which to fashion their own lives. Being His disciple requires a daily response of living out our beliefs and demonstrating our love of Him.

As disciples of Jesus we, in turn, are urged to seek others to whom we can say, “Follow me.” As we model our lives after the life of Jesus, we are to intentionally bring others along on our journey, encouraging them to follow us as we follow Jesus. The apostle Paul says in 1 Cor. 11:1, “Follow my example as I follow the example of Christ.” (NIV)

From Paul’s statement we begin to see that those simple words become more complex, representing His call to a radical new way of life. When Jesus instructed His disciples to follow him, he was ultimately calling them to give up everything for Him, learn from what He would say, and live a life that demonstrated obedience to God and His Word as the priority of their lives. Jesus lived a life of perfect obedience; as a result, He could confidently say, “Follow me.”

But what of you and I? When we, as fallen people, ponder the act of

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