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Eric K. Thomsen


FIRST GLIMPSE: defining discipleship



Eric Thomsen is managing editor of ONE Magazine. Send comments and observations about ONE to


I like cave diving, prowling ancient ruins, and exploring dusty back roads to nowhere.

She enjoys sitting in the sunshine with a good book. I crave action, adventure—new challenges that push me to my limits. She enjoys shopping in quaint villages or sipping cream soda in quiet, side-street cafés. I hike and camp. She gets her nails done and thinks “roughing it” is staying at a hotel that doesn’t serve breakfast. Perish the thought!

She is witty, with quick answers that leave me speechless. I am methodical and plodding. She packs only what she needs for a trip. I double up on everything. I’m large (six-one, 225 pounds). She is small at five feet even and…um…well…much less than half my size.

During a recent anniversary trip to the Yucatan Peninsula, we found ourselves chuckling about the creative ways we have learned to overcome our differences. I’ve learned to pack light(er) and to appreciate quiet corner cafés, although I order strong, black coffee rather than cream soda. She has learned to enjoy new challenges like snorkeling or following some unmarked jungle path to a deserted beach. I doubt she will ever become an avid hiker, nor will I suddenly become an enthusiastic shopper, but we find common ground in watching Monday Night Football, sharing good books, and traveling to new destinations.


First Glimpse 29

Photo: The author enjoys a soda in a quiet café in Mexico.


In short, over 15 years of marriage, we have gradually assumed the likes and characteristics of the other. I’m sure you sometimes observe the eventual results of this process in older couples who inspire you to blurt out, “Wow! They look just like each other.” Chances are this has little to do with physical appearance and more to do with a lifetime of becoming one.

This marital phenomenon is a beautiful illustration of the disciple’s relationship with Christ—the lifelong process of becoming more like Him. In The Imitation of Christ, Thomas à Kempis stated it this way, “Let this be thy whole endeavor, this thy prayer, this thy desire, that thou mayest be stripped of all selfishness, and with entire simplicity follow Jesus only.” Like marriage, discipleship is best when shared, and the cycle of discipleship is never complete without replication. To be a disciple is to make disciples.

With this in mind, the December-January 2010 issue of ONE Magazine delves deeper into discipleship, from the disciple-making mandate of the Great Commission in "Redefining Discipleship" to the challenges facing modern disciples in "The Changing Face of Christian Education."

As you read, remember A.W. Tozer’s advice for the disciples of Christ: “Let no one imagine that he will lose anything of human dignity by this voluntary sell-out of his all to his God. He does not by this degrade himself as a man; rather he finds his right place of high honor as one made in the image of his Creator.”




©2009 ONE Magazine, National Association of Free Will Baptists