What is Christian discipleship? A Christian disciple is a person who is called, accepts, and assists in the spreading of the good news of Jesus Christ. Christian discipleship is the process by which disciples grow in the Lord Jesus Christ and are equipped by the Holy Spirit, who resides in our hearts, to overcome the pressures and trials of this present life and become more and more Christ like. This process requires believers to respond to the Holy Spirit’s prompting to examine their thoughts, words and actions and compare them with the Word of God. This requires that we be in the Word daily-studying it, praying over it, and obeying it. In addition, we should always be ready to give testimony of the reason for the hope that is within us (1 Peter 3:15) and to disciple others to walk in His way. When Jesus calls a person, the response to the call holds the same implications today as it did for the first disciples. A path must be chosen, discipleship or the world, when Jesus says, “Follow me.”
According to Scripture, being a Christian disciple involves personal growth characterized by the following:
- Putting Jesus first in all things (Mark 8:34-38). A disciple of Christ needs to be set apart from the world. Our focus should be on our Lord and pleasing Him in every area of our lives. We must put off self-centeredness and put on Christ-centeredness.
- Following Jesus’ teachings (John 8:31-32). We must be obedient children and doers of the Word. Obedience is the supreme test of our faith, and Jesus is the perfect example of obedience as He lived a life on earth of complete obedience to the Father even to the point of death (Philippians 3:6-8).
- Fruitfulness (John 15:5-8). Our job is not producing fruit. Our job is to abide in Christ, and if we do, the Holy Spirit will produce the fruit, and this fruit is the result of our obedience. As we become more obedient to the Lord and learn to walk in His ways, our lives will change. We will be transformed into the image of Christ for the sake of others.
- Love for one another (John 13:34-35). We are told that love of others is the evidence of our being a member of God’s family (1 John 3:10). Love is described in 1 Corinthians 13: 1-13. These verses show us that love is not an emotion; it is action. We must be involved.
- Evangelism – Making disciples of others (Matthew 28: 18-20). We are to share our faith and tell nonbelievers about the wonderful changes Jesus Christ has made in our lives. No matter what our maturity level in the Christian life, we have something to offer. Too often, we believe the lie from Satan that we don’t really know how to tell others about Christ. This lie is not true! Some of the best proclaimers of the faith are new believers. They may not know many Bible verses nor some presubscribed method of evangelism, but they have experienced the love of the living God. It is this experience, your individual experience with God, which we are to share with others.
Grace & Peace, Pastor Bob