Morgan makes a point which we too easily miss when we think through the true nature of discipleship. A disciple is one who has an intimate, personal relationship with a teacher. The Christian is called upon to make disciples of Jesus Christ. Thus all one’s efforts must be bent to fostering the disciples relationship with Christ. Moreover, the disciple (all of us) must possess and care for that relationship.
Here is the rub: We too easily abstract the relationship with Jesus, reducing it to a matter of words — a bare abstraction. We can treat discipleship as one’s interaction with gravity — as if Jesus were a force and not a man. Or, we can easily act as if having once established the relationship, it cannot be moved. We would never think that a marriage can survive a spouse who never comes home after the marriage — and yet we may think that a relationship with Jesus will flourish with no attention:
“Right Relationships With The Teacher Must Be Maintained. Failure to understand this is perhaps one of the subtlest dangers to which the disciple is exposed. The idea is common that at some set time, through some special season of blessing, one enters into right relationships with Him, and that therefore, through all the coming days, these relationships abide. It is absolutely false. There is nothing in all the realms of life more delicate, more easy to interfere with than these relationships. As the most tremendous forces of which man knows anything are set in operation by simplest methods, and may be hindered by means equally simple, so in relation to this greatest of all forces—the cleansing and illuminating force of contact with Jesus. By the simple method of cessation of activity I come into living contact with it, and by a moment’s self-assertion, I may hinder its working. Hence the need for living daily and hourly and every moment at the very place of beginnings, ever as a child depending upon Him, and ever as one of the weakest of those who love Him, abiding in Him.”
George Campbell Morgan. “Discipleship.” The experience of any Christian proves this true: we know that our life will waver with the intimacy and attention of our relationship. We must “come to him” (1 Peter 2:4) if we will be transformed.
Morgan explains that such a personal relationship must entail actual time with the Lord:
“It is a glorious thing to know that my cleansing and illumination depend upon Him, and that the whole of my responsibility in this matter is marked by my maintaining personal relationship with Him. This, however, is inexorable. Daily personal personal communion there must be, and the means of such, study of His word, waiting upon Him in prayer, the cultivation of close fellowship, by telling Him everything—joys as well as sorrows—and the periods of silence in which the soul simply waits and listens in the stillness for His voice, these cannot be neglected without a film, a veil, a cloud, a darkness coming between the soul and Himself, and so hindering the possibility of advancement.”
Morgan finishes the thought with the observation — which comes from The Lord himself –that such communion must entail a profound personal dimension (this a matter of much discussion throughout the history of the church; as for example Thomas Brooks’ work “The Privy Key of Heaven” concerning private prayer https://memoirandremains.wordpress.com/?s=the+privy+key+of+heaven):
All this specially needs emphasizing in an age, characterized by its rush and unrest, its loss of the old spirit of meditation and quiet, a characterization that applies to Christendom to-day as evidenced by over-organization, never ceasing rounds of societies, meetings, doings, and the lessening of the seasons of retirement and true worship. Personal relationship cannot be maintained in crowds. The Master and I alone, must be a perpetual need, and for its realization opportunity must be made. .