By Rev. Alexa Ho

I’ve been thinking much about discipleship.

As Christians, we know that authentic faith is not merely attending a Sunday Service in a building, nor growing in some private spiritual disciplines, important as they may be. For our faith to be authentic, or what the bible calls ‘living faith’, it ought to make a difference to the world both within us and around us. For this to happen, the people of God have no choice but to step into “the streets” where ordinary life is going on and add value to the lives of our neighbours. 

It was by chance that I stumbled upon John Pritchard’s* amazing book “Living Faithfully: Following Christ in everyday life”. His ‘word at the beginning’ immediately caught my eyes. 

John Pritchard asks “What does it mean to follow Jesus in everyday life? It’s a pretty basic question but one with which we struggle. We know what it means to run churches, offer worship, raise money… but how does all this relate to issues we face as we walk through the door of our office, or school or hospital? How does [following Jesus] have any bearing on how we spend our money or conduct our marriage? How does it help us handle our sexuality or live in an online jungle?

Indeed, and I would add- how does living faithfully for Jesus look like at our homes, at work and in the world? How does one (you and I) go about doing so daily, consistently? Does that kind of faith have a certain ‘look’ and one that we can measure, as how we would measure our weight and height?

These are good questions that demand a response and this year, we invite you to explore with us as we intend to get everyone to treat seriously our faith journey with Jesus. 

But first thing first- how are you doing in your ‘journey’ of following Jesus?

The former Archbishop William Temple said this- ‘When we fail in following Jesus, it is always for one of two reasons: either we are not trying to be loyal, or else we are trying in our own strength”. 

We can’t live this Christian life in our own strength. It’s too demanding, too burdensome to tackle by ourselves. I once heard someone said even if we think we can follow Jesus without any external help, by the time we ‘get there’, we are halfway dead. When was the last time you have orientated your life to face God and draw on His limitless life? 

“I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.” John 15:5

We don’t have to do it by our own strength (and in reality, we can’t). Jesus explained that only by remaining—or abiding or dwelling—in Jesus can we bear fruit. The tense of the Greek word translated as remain conveys the idea of a definite act of the will, a conscious decision to “abide” or make a home in our relationship to Jesus. And not only are we to abide in Him, but He too will abide in us. How wonderful is this promise! When I choose to dwell with Jesus, Jesus is also making His dwelling in me. And only when we do that, we will lead a fruit-bearing life- and that’s Jesus’ promise to us. 

So, to follow Jesus, to be a disciple is to always have our lives turned towards him as our consistent point of reference. And just like any human relationships – to remain in Jesus doesn’t just happen- relationship with Jesus does not flourish on nice thoughts and good intentions; it needs time, love and commitment to obey and be faithful… so, which one area in 2023 you need to make time and commitment to walk faithfully with God?

Brothers and sisters, may 2023 find us living for Christ in daily life, Monday to Sunday, faithfully and fruitfully. 

*John Pritchard is Bishop of Oxford and Chairman of the Church of England Board of Education. He was formerly Bishop of Jarrow, Archdeacon of Canterbury and, before that, Warden of Cranmer Hall, Durham. He has served in parishes in Birmingham and Taunton and has been Diocesan Youth Officer for Bath and Wells diocese.

Get Involved

✍️ Write down ONE area in 2023 you need to make time and commitment to walk faithfully with God. 🔎 Find opportunities to move yourself to the right. 👀 Look for fellow travelers to cheer you on.

🙏 Pray for one another as we orientate our life to face God and draw on His limitless life.