I can’t think of a better way to keep an uplifted spirit than through discipleship. As Christians, it’s what is expected of us. But many of us may think that being a disciple is something out of reach; something reserved for pastors, church ladies, and elders. Or, we may think of the twelve disciples who went out into the world spreading Jesus’ Word, and were responsible for much of the New Testament (heady stuff to live up to!). But before we become concerned that others may be better equipped for the job than we are, let’s look at what discipleship really means.
For us as Christians, to be a disciple is to be a follower and student of Jesus. In John 8:31-32 (NIV), Jesus said, “If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. 32 Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” And in Luke 9:23, “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me.”
It’s about first drawing closer to Him; committing to a personal relationship with Him. Then when we ‘walk as He walked,’ we inspire others to do the same. It’s not about being “holier than thou” or an “expert.” Even some of the “original twelve” didn’t get it right at first (in Matthew 8:23-27, the disciples questioned Jesus’ abilities; in Luke 22:54-60, Peter, fearing persecution, denied he even knew Jesus; and in John 20:24-25, Thomas doubted that Jesus had returned until he saw the scars in His hands).
To strengthen our faith, in order to become better disciples, it seems we have to first develop the discipline to do as Jesus did. We can begin to mirror His behavior by:
- Consecration. If the first thing we do in the morning is to turn to the (insert media or vice here), it’s time to break the cycle! (Matthew 6:33; Phillipians 4:8)
- Praying daily (Philippians 4:6-7).
- Reading and meditating on The Word daily: to be a student, you’ve got to open The Book! (Deuteronomy 17:19).
- Keeping God’s Commandments (Exodus 20:1-17).
- Being a “doer of The Word” (James 2:26; 1Corinthians 7:17-24).
- Fasting (Isaiah 58:6).
- Controlling what we say (James 1:26): even Jesus spoke in parables.
- Giving our testimony. Our successes on the journey will inspire others (Psalm 19:7).
Finally, I think my favorite passage, Romans 12:1-2, says it best:
1Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship. 2 Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.
Through His Will, and with Jesus as our teacher, yes, we become disciples – and our own lives can become a reason for others to believe.