By Cassie Downs,
Since becoming a writer, I have learned a lot about proper grammar. I’m not pretending to know it all. I still struggle and have people and programs to correct my mistakes. However, one of my biggest issues is when to use a comma versus a period. I run-on sentences for miles. My editors are always quick to let me know. But, In my defense, I think commas and long sentences are not always a bad idea. Who wants to read a bunch of short sentences? A period just seems so final.
As is true of parenting. As a mother of two teenagers and a pre-teen at the ripe old age of twelve, I often wonder why someone didn’t warn me that babies don’t stay babies. When I was walking around with my round belly carrying my little babies, no one warned me that the baby would one day drive a car. Everyone just talked about my baby as if I would have him or her, period. It was as if they would be babies forever. But surprise, surprise, there was actually a comma after birth, not a period. I’m still working through the shock sixteen years later. Who knew?
Like the shock from the comma in my parenting, there is another comma where we put a period. After salvation. For many Christians, we buy into this lie that says salvation is the beginning and end, period. But what about the middle? You can’t have a beginning or an end without a middle. And if there is a comma after salvation, what does that even look like?
Lately, the word discipleship has been wrecking me. I see discipleship throughout the pages of the New Testament. I see it in the way Jesus loved his life on earth. I see it in the letters Paul wrote to the churches. But what exactly is discipleship? How does it apply to us?
Disciple simply means to teach or instruct. So when Jesus commissioned the twelve disciples, he was asking them to go teach and instruct others. And those discipled would one day continue on the great commission, also making disciples.
Salvation, as beautiful as it is, is only the beginning of our faith walk. After salvation, Jesus invites us to follow Him. Following Him is this middle ground. The comma in our story. The middle is where we become His disciples and fishers of men. It’s where we grow in our faith, grow in our character, grow in His likeness. The middle is where we step into the adventure Jesus longs to take us on. God did not mean for salvation to be a period, but a stepping stone into a deeper relationship with the Savior.
Are you experiencing this middle ground? Or Are you stuck at salvation? If you are, it isn’t a bad place to be stuck, but the comma place is where you will truly experience Jesus to the fullest. Where your life will flourish and spill onto those around you. Where you will become both a disciple and a disciple maker. If not you, who else will carry on the great commission in your world? To your family, your friends, your workplace, and your city?
So, how do we get to this place of the comma?
Start with prayer. Ask God what next step you can take toward fulfilling the great commission in your world. Dig into His word and discover His character and grow in the likeness of Jesus. Jesus will always take you deeper if you’re willing to go. Don’t stop at salvation when there is so much life in the middle place. Live in the middle like the people around you lives depend on it.
Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, — Matthew 28:19 (NIV)
Cassie Downs is the author of Chasing Jesus and Unrivaled, both 60-day devotionals and founder of Everyday Jesus Ministry. Connect with her online at everyday-jesus.com. Cassie’s books are available locally and Amazon.com.