Disciples…not Zealots?

(Matthew 28:19-20) – seems like everyone loves passion…ZEAL, but that’s not what Christ told us to develop and make…zealots!  He said “disciples!”

Folks, we live in a fallen world and are fallen, sinful people apart from Christ! For that reason we constantly return to the tree of Genesis 3 and are tempted (and often justify our giving in) to exercise the free will that God gave us so that we could know, give and receive love.  That same free will causes us to fall into sin as we claim our own “godship/lordship.” 

Passion in the flesh is easy to follow but it leads to ruin.  Discipleship requires discipline of our body, mind, soul and spirit in His Word and Spirit and leads to no condemnation (Romans 8:1-8)!  Passions rightly ordered!

For this reason Paul wrote in Galatians 5:17 that the things of the flesh desires, lusts or wars against the things The Holy Spirit desires. It’s a battle that actually begins full-scale when we come to know Christ as Savior and receive the gift of His Holy Spirit! Until we receive Christ as Savior and Lord we only know it by “the law” and what our parents, other authorities and our own conscience tell us is right and wrong.  Once we submit to and receive Christ as Savior we have no more excuses but that doesn’t stop the enemy, world and our own flesh from wanting what we want and rejecting what Christ’s Spirit desires.  This takes time and discipline for us to grow in Christ, His Word and His Holy Spirit.

In this fallen world, with free will and because of sin, we need discipline… spiritual disciplines (go back to previous articles ( in August and early September to see these disciplines that we must live out to mature in our spiritual walk and in Christ). That’s why it’s called discipleship and, for our own sake, why Christ calls us to wholehearted devotion with Him above all things, and that we must die to or deny our self (the flesh) by faith through His empowering Grace!

Discipleship is not being in God’s Word 24 hours a day…it is Christ through God’s Word and Spirit dwelling in you 24 hours a day! The only way we can do this is by His grace in Christ, receiving His Spirit and choosing daily to spend time in His Word, prayer and listening to Him. That’s how disciples i.e., disciplined ones, in Christ are filled with His Word and Spirit (Colossians 3:16; Ephesians 5:18)! As we do so, we grow every day to become perfect (Greek word is complete, mature and whole) in Christ just as our Heavenly Father is perfect (Matthew 5:48). Discipleship is being perfect in the eyes of God through what Christ has already done for us (the Covenant last week). Then as we live out His Word and character, maturing in His Spirit in our own lives toward His fullness and completeness in us.

This doesn’t happen naturally in our flesh. If it did, think about it, we wouldn’t need a Savior. It only happens as we discipline ourselves in His power, freely available to all who believe in Him, to daily choose His Spirit over our flesh until, and as, we mature and He becomes our nature and we die to the natural fleshly person.

Oswald Chambers states it plainly…

The Example Our Lord gives us is not that of a good man, or even of a good Christian, but of God Himself. “Be ye therefore perfect even as your Father in heaven is perfect” — show to the other men what God has shown to you; and God will give us ample opportunities in actual life to prove whether we are perfect as our Father in heaven is perfect. To be a disciple means that we deliberately identify ourselves with God’s interests in other people. “That ye love one another; as I have loved you…”

The expression of Christian character is not good doing, but Godlikeness: If the Spirit of God has transformed you within, you will exhibit Divine characteristics in your life, not good human characteristics. God’s life in us expresses itself as God’s life, not as human life trying to be godly. The secret of a Christian is that the supernatural is made natural in him by the grace of God, and the experience of this works out in the practical details of life, not in times of communion with God.

You can find the full devotional here…

Who or what is ruling in your life? Who’s your Lord or lord and whose disciple are you? This is not about claiming in your head that Christ has saved you. This is a knowing in your heart, and a living it out in every part of your life, that He has saved you and that He is your Lord.  And it shows up everywhere, all the time!  At least it should.

Continuing with this concept of Biblical discipleship I want to share a story that I believe highlights the reality that we’re not making disciples and the great need for it in our lives and churches…

After presenting at a weekend conference years ago I had a pastor who asked me to go to lunch later that week. At lunch he stated that he knew that the message was right on target and that the church he pastored was not (and he said he also knew that many others were not). He wanted to know the name of the model that I had shared?

I never considered that and told him I had no name for it and in that moment I believe The Holy Spirit laid this response on my heart, “I don’t have any name for it but I think it would best be described as “The Jesus Model.”

What is “The Jesus Model” found in God’s Word and as outlined for the most part in our book, The Authority of Love, Second Edition?

I think it is summed up in this statement…Discipleship is not one teaching a hundred, thousand, ten thousand or more (that has it’s place in evangelism, teaching and preaching as we have come to know and practice these…but it is not discipleship as we are all commanded to do).  Discipleship is tens, hundreds, thousands and more, who are each teaching and mentoring one, two, three or more as The Lord has intersected each of us in our sphere(s) of influence.  This is what we need in our homes, churches and world! (Matthew 10:16-39)

Love and Lordship…Food for Thought – Imagine what it would be like if each person who claimed Christ as Savior really grasped the call on their life to walk as His disciple and with Him as Lord, and be diligent and faithful to make disciples of others for His Kingdom and Glory? Let’s work to find out!

Love and Lordship…Action Item(s)

  1. Read the Scriptures in this article and ask The Holy Spirit to teach you.
  2. What do you need to do to make sure that Christ is not just your Savior but also your Lord?  What will you do about it?
  3. Find ways in your personal life to exhibit Christ’s nature rather than that of your own flesh.  This won’t be easy and will require the disciplines over time as His disciple, of being in His Word and prayer and listening to Him.
  4. Look for ways in your relationships with others to intentionally express God’s Love to them as you mature to fullness as Christ’s disciple.