Being Disciples

Being a disciple of Jesus is, simply put, being a follower of Jesus. However, it is not as simple as believing in Him or calling him ‘Savior’. No. It is far more complex than that.

 

Being a disciple first means a willingness to commit to discipleship.

To be a disciple originally meant to be an active learner; to identify someone you want to learn from- much like an apprentice.  Being a disciple of Jesus is no easy commitment.

“If anyone comes to me and does not hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes, and even his own life, he cannot be my disciple.”   -Luke 14:26

This verse was cryptic to me for so long. What did Jesus mean by this? It really sounded like a jerk line. I have to forsake those I love in order to follow Him? Turns out it wasn’t that at all. What He is really trying to say is that being His follower is not easy. People will think you are crazy, hate you, belittle you, and even try to harm you- maybe your own family. In some cases it will cost you everything you have, including those you love and maybe even your own life. To be a disciple means you are certain and you are committed. It is not a role to be taken lightly.

 

 

Being a disciples changes your entire life.

We have all heard the term “Born-again Christian”. This is another term for disciple, because being a disciple of Christ changes your life.

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.   -2 Corinthians 5:17

To follow Christ is to desire to emulate him and how he lived and loved. It changes what is important to you. When you are living like Christ, for Christ, your aim is much higher, your goal so different than it was before. Cars, homes, money, promotions are all things that were priorities than now seem so inferior. Instead, your priorities become less tangible, things like goodness, honesty, love, and humility.


If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth. For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ who is your[a] life appears, then you also will appear with him in glory.

Put to death therefore what is earthly in you:[b] sexual immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry. On account of these the wrath of God is coming.[c] In these you too once walked, when you were living in them. But now you must put them all away: anger, wrath, malice, slander, and obscene talk from your mouth. Do not lie to one another, seeing that you have put off the old self[d] with its practices 10 and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge after the image of its creator. 11 Here there is not Greek and Jew, circumcised and uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave,[e] free; but Christ is all, and in all.

12 Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, 13 bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. 14 And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony. 15 And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body. And be thankful. 16 Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God. 17 And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.  -Colossians 3:1-17


If you are not exhibiting these traits, feeling a change in your priorities, you are not “bearing the fruit” of a true disciple. In other words, you are not following Christ in your heart. When you follow Christ in your heart you cannot help but follow him in deed. Yes, you will stumble. You will make mistakes. You will still fall for advertisements and find yourself in seasons of materialism. You are Christ’s but you are still human. However, for true disciples this will be the exception not the norm.

21 “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. 22 On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?’ 23 And then will I declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.’  -Matthew 7:21-23

 

Being a disciple means putting love first.

Jesus’s message was one of love. Not just any love, but an all encompassing love. It is an emulation of this love that denotes a true disciple.

34 A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. 35 By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.”  -John 13:34-35

Christ did not spend his time with the affluent or the renowned, chatting up those who would most easily influence his agenda. Christ went to those who needed him most. He didn’t just preach or lecture them, he loved them. This is evidenced all throughout the New Testament in stories such as the woman at the well, the story of Zacchaeus, and his defense of the woman about to be stoned (these are but a few). Jesus did not consider anyone as lesser or treat them as such, including lepers, prostitutes, and women. The ultimate display of Christ’s love was of course his death on the cross. Not just because he died for our sins, but died for us knowing we might never appreciate it or love him back.

Unless we are displaying this type of love we cannot call ourselves disciples. We are not actively learning from our Master. Love isn’t easy. Love isn’t only for those that are easy to love. We are to love all that cross our path, friends and enemies.

43 “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ 44 But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, 45 so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven. For he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust. 46 For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? 47 And if you greet only your brothers,[i] what more are you doing than others? Do not even the Gentiles do the same? 48 You therefore must be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.” -Matthew 5:43-48

Without Christ in our hearts and our eyes focused on him, we cannot achieve this. It is not in our nature, not without Christ. We shed that when we choose to follow him with certainty and without compromise. It is our love for all that will identify us.

 

Being a disciple means sharing the Word

Yes, it is a biblical proclamation, but that’s not why you do it. Disciples share the Word not because they have to. They share the Word not because it’s a requirement. We share the word because we can’t help it. The more you learn about Christ the more you fall in love with him- you can’t help but proclaim it! There is a change so profound that happens in you, a reassurance and certainty that overtakes your life, even through all the crappy parts, that you want to share with everyone around you. You want everyone to feel this loved, this safe, this at peace in a way that is so unexplainable. Yes, it might feel uncomfortable, especially at first. Yes, there will be times you don’t speak up because of where you are or who you’re with or the time just isn’t right. But you will want to. It will be hard not to.

 

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19 Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in[a] the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” -Matthew 28:19-21