When I wonder "What Is A Disciple?" the picture I get involves looking at true discipleship. Which means we have to look at the person who is discipling someone else and the person who is being discipled. True discipleship for the first person, to me at least, is someone who understands that discipleship is about doing life together. It is about looking for opportunities to build relationships in every day circumstances and then looking for teachable moments out of those circumstances. For the latter, it is someone who if fully committed to Christ. Because Jesus never called us to be half committed nor would He allow His disciples to be half committed. So true discipleship means fully committing every part of our lives to Christ. I encourage you to wrestle with these definitions and look at what they might mean for your own life. Then make sure to live out whatever picture God brings to your mind.
If you are going to be able to answer the question “What Is A Disciple?” you must understand what a disciple believes. This is because our beliefs about God and what scripture teaches about Him will guide the way we live. And in a world where people believe that truth is just whatever you think it is or even that there is no truth at all, it is more important than ever that we understand our beliefs and know what truth really is. This way we can live by it and share it with others. So if you are truly going to be a disciple there are a few things you must do. First you must read God’s word. Second, you must meditate on it and study it so that you can know what it means and what that truth means for your life. Finally, be obedient to do what the word of God teaches you to do.
Answering the question "What is a disciple?" will force your life to change because you will realize that as a disciple of Jesus there is a work to be done. Part of that work is helping others understand the answer to this question as well as we go out into the world and make disciples. Part of this work is meeting the physical needs of others as we feed the hungry give clothes to those who are without, and provide shelter to those who have none. Part of this work is providing community and support to a lost and lonely world who has forgotten what that is like. But regardless of what part of the work you are doing at the time, we must always remember that there is work to be doing. Because Jesus did not just die for us, He died for the whole world. And we must not just sit around and wait for Heaven but most devote our lives to making sure that others hear that saving message of what Christ did for them on the cross.
When you are deciding "What is a disciple?" you must think about what the character would be of someone who can truly be called a disciple of Jesus. Because our character is who we truly are. The best definition of Character I ever heard was "who you are when no one is looking." Granted, God is always watching us, but I think this definition really gets to the heart of the matter. Because when we are alone, our true selves and who we have become, comes out. A character of a follower of Jesus will always act in a way that loves God and loves people, regardless of where they are and the circumstances they face. Because Jesus said that these were the two greatest commandments, and that all the others can be summed up in these two. How exactly we go about that is a discussion for another day, but for now I just want you to consider, "Do you live a life that loves God and loves people at all times?" If not it may be time to allow God to work in you to develop your character so you can be a fully developing disciple of Jesus.
When it comes to thinking about "What Is a disciple?" you have to realize that your life completely changes. You get new passions and new purposes. You have a new standard for your life. But most importantly you become a completely new creation. The old is gone and the new has come. So it is not like you are a slightly better person who just occasionally lives differently. You are a completely new person who never has too and never should go back to your old way of life. This is important because many disciples live their lives for Christ in defeat and struggle but this does not have to be. Because in Christ we can do all things, including living a victorious new life that honors God through loving others, striving to be free from sin, and living selflessly. And in this life comes the incredible freedom that the world only dreams of and will want once they see us living it out.
To often in answer the question "What Is a Disciple?" people only answer part of the question. They will take what they like from scripture and what Jesus teaches us about how to live and then will ignore the things they do not like. It is a lot like the rich young ruler in the Gospels. He came wanting to follow Jesus. But when Jesus told him to go out and sell all that he had, the rich young ruler could not do it. He just But if we are truly going to be a disciple we must look at the whole picture. We must realize that being a disciple means giving our whole life to Jesus, not just some of it. It must change the way we live, our character, the work that we are focused on and the way we do that work, and what we believe. This way, once we are fully changed and we can go out and help others experience life change as well.
We are excited to announce a great new set of ministry apps. They are the "What Is A Disciple?" discipleship app series. There are four apps in this series. Each one includes a Gospel tract to help you fully understand that first step in becoming a disciple of Jesus and then also a discipleship curriculum for further study. There are four parts to this series: "The Life Of A Disciple", The Character Of A Disciple", "The Work Of A Disciple", and "The Beliefs Of A Disciple". Each part takes you further a long in the process of fully understanding what it means to be a disciple. The curriculum itself is great because in the process of you learning about the Bible you are also learning how to study it. But there are also a few other great features. First of all, you can actually type and save notes in the study which is great for being able to study on your own and be able to come discuss it with your discipleship group or partner. Another great feature is that this is in a format that won't be lost by people you disciple. Finally, at only $3.99 per app you won't find a much better price for a discipleship study book. We encourage you to go check out this app series and look for ways to incorporate it in your ministry today.
What is a disciple? A disciple is someone who raises the bar and lives to God's standards and not the world's standards. A great example of this is in Matthew 5:27-30. We all know that adultery is bad, even the world would agree with this. But most people would think that adultery is actually having sex with someone other than your spouse. But Jesus clearly says that even looking at someone with lust is adultery. Even with that, most people might think adultery is a fairly big deal but would probably say that it is not the end of the world. Jesus takes sin so seriously though that He says we would be better to gouge out our eyes or cut off our hands rather than sin. This is definitely raising the bar but this is reality. We are to live completely free of sin and not tamper with it or try to get as close to the fire of sin as we can without getting burned. We are to do whatever it takes to make sure that we do not fall into sin. Even if we have to get rid of our computer, leave our job, lose certain friendships, get rid of our television, give all our money away, move...Whatever it takes to live a life with a pure heart and mind that honors God.
As we continue to answer the question, "What is a disciple?" I wanted to next look at Matthew 5:21-26. There is so much in those next few verses though that it is difficult to sum it all up and piece it all together with one clear though. The best way I know to do this though is to say that a true disciple has right relationships. First we see that it is not enough not to kill but we must in fact not be angry and must control our mouths as we deal with others. This shows that our relationships must truly be right, not just on the surface but also in our hearts. Next we see that this must be a priority. Even before worship, actually especially before worship, we must go make things right with others before we do anything else. Finally, we see that even with our opponents, something we will deal with again later, we must try to make friends and show love. This clearly shows us that in all situations a primary goal of a disciple is to have right relationships with all people at all times both on the surface and in our hearts.
What is a disciple? Well if we were going to sum all of this up we would almost have to say that a disciple lives and speaks the truth. If you read Matthew 5:17-20 you see that Jesus is saying that there is a certain way we should live and that must continue. Many people think they can come to Jesus, and because they are saved and can never lose that salvation, they think they can just have one big party for the rest of their life. This is far from the truth though. We in fact are held to a higher standard when we come to Jesus. And not just in our own lives but we are also called to set an example for others and lead them towards Christ. This means that we must know every inch of scripture, the truth, live it out in our lives, and share it with others. Every word that drips from our mouths and every action that pours out of our lives must align with the truth of scripture and point others to that truth, or we cannot truly call ourselves disciples. Am I saying we are going to be perfect? No!!! But we sure should strive to be and ask God to empower us to be.