Forged in his image

By: Brenda Harris

This summer the Kendrick Brothers’ movie, The Forge, will remind us of the joy of being sold out to Christ

CONSIDER THE BLACKSMITH as he works diligently with his anvil and those hot, burning coals. His purpose is to reshape an object for a new purpose. Using extreme heat along with intense physical force, the blacksmith labors to forge and design a fresh and innovative creation. This type of forging is similar to what the prophet declared in Isaiah 54:16: “Look, I have created the craftsman who blows on the charcoal fire and produces a weapon suitable for its task; and I have created the destroyer to cause havoc.” In my mind’s eye, I see the work involved and the stunning result. The process is often raw and penetrating but the finished product is worth the time and energy exerted.

In the new Kendrick Brothers’ movie, The Forge, viewers will observe the work involved in trusting God and committing to be His disciple. Just as the blacksmith envisions the end result of his work, you’ll be challenged to understand and embrace the work of becoming a true disciple. And, just like the blacksmith, you’ll discover that discipleship means hard work.

Is true discipleship what I want for my children? Am I willing to be a disciple and model what that means for my children?

The Forge begins as an all-too-familiar scenario of our culture as it unfolds: an unmotivated 19-year-old named Isaiah, with no direction, no plans, and no relationship with Jesus. He seems perfectly content to follow his buddies in their devotion to video games and pick-up basketball games. For him, the future is too far away to worry about now. But never underestimate the power of a praying mother. As she presents her son with some new house rules, God begins to work, orchestrating details and dilemmas to capture this young man’s attention. Every challenge and opportunity points Isaiah to the God who loves him and the purpose God has for his life.

Taking the Lead Role

Discipleship takes center stage as The Forge follows Isaiah’s journey — from unmotivated cynic to godly young adult, forging his journey to true discipleship. Featuring Cameron Arnett and Aspen Kennedy, along with some friends from the film War Room (Priscilla Shirer, Karen Abercrombie, and others), The Forge will confront believers to assess their own level of discipleship.

Discipleship isn’t simple or effortless. The Bible tells us salvation is a gift: “For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Rom. 6:23); “For you are saved by grace through faith, and this is not from yourselves; it is God’s gift” (Eph. 2:8). But discipleship is costly: “If anyone by Brenda Harris wants to follow after me, let him deny himself, take up his cross daily, and follow me” (Luke 9:23). In the book, Count Me In (Alex and Stephen Kendrick and Travis Agnew), we’re reminded, “Discipleship is not an addition to your life. … It is stepping up to the life Jesus has designed you to live.”

Becoming a committed disciple is what we all want for our children — for them to be a devoted follower of Christ, studying God’s Word, seeking His guidance, telling others about the Savior, and pursuing Him above all else. That’s the correct “spiritual” response. But is it what we really want for our children? Do we want them to follow Christ and be totally sold out to Him in dedicated devotion, or do we want them to have a stress-free life with no struggles? Often as parents we do whatever we can to protect and shield our children from hard situations; we don’t want them to struggle. But Luke 9:23 clearly states denial is at the very heart of discipleship. It involves a daily surrender. In The Forge, businessman Joshua Moore tells Isaiah that taking up the cross may mean “something has to die.” Perhaps the real questions we must answer are: Is true discipleship what I want for my children? Am I willing to be a disciple and model what that means for my children?

Taking Discipleship to Heart

Jesus gave specific instructions to believers in Matthew 28:19-20a before He left this earth: “Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe everything I have commanded you. And remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age” [emphasis added]. It’s not a suggestion; it’s a directive. This straightforward commission isn’t too difficult to understand, but it requires determined obedience. Because we know and rest in the authority of Christ, we make disciples, teaching them God’s Word and how to follow His instructions. In her book, I Surrender All, Priscilla Shirer says, “Discipleship is a divine invitation, an opportunity for us to take this new identity we’ve been given in Christ and start making our attitudes and actions match up with it, so that our daily lives become congruent with it.” Not an easy assignment for you or the ones you love, right? A disciple is a student, a learner, a believer who is growing in Christ. If that sounds like work, it is.

The Forge will confront believers to assess their own level of discipleship.

Taking It to the Next Generation

Michael Catt was instrumental in the work of Sherwood Pictures, and he encouraged Alex, Stephen, and Shannon Kendrick in their pursuit of writing, producing, and crafting God-honoring movies. Michael often reminded people “whoever wants the next generation the most will get them.”3 The work of disciple-making is urgently needed. Intentional multiplication is crucial as we seek not only to introduce others to Jesus but as we invest in the work of growing deeper and stronger in Christ. The plan is clear and simple: One person committed to their own personal discipleship, investing in the life of another, and discipling them until they become a discipler. How does this happen? In the book, Devoted to Jesus, Stephen and Alex share this reminder: “The Great Commission is the most epic command and calling of all time. We as His followers are not here merely to attend church and do religious things, to soak up the blessings of salvation while we wait for His return. … Not just to know Him but to make Him known. Not just to be His disciples but to make His disciples. To fully follow Him by helping others follow Him as well. … His Great Commission! It’s what disciples do!” Not in our own strength but in the power and ability of our Father. It’s been His plan all along, and we’re privileged to participate in carrying it out.

1. Stephen Kendrick, Alex Kendrick, and Travis Agnew, Count Me In: The Daring Life of a Jesus Follower
(Nashville, TN: B&H Kids, 2024), 30.
2. Priscilla Shirer, I Surrender All (Nashville, TN: B&H Publishing, 2024), 52.
4 Stephen Kendrick and Alex Kendrick, Devoted to Jesus: From First Steps to Fully Surrendered, (Nashville, TN: B&H Publishing, 2024).

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