A disciple is one who studies and then models whoever is Lord in his/her life. A disciple is one who disciplines his/herself according to the principles or standards of his/her Lord. A disciple is one who practices the disciplines of his/her Lord.
Discipleship begins with whoever is your Lord/lord and…in the mirror. It doesn’t begin with telling others about your Lord/lord but learning from your Lord so that when you begin to share about who your Lord is, you are actually living out a lifestyle that reflects that of your Lord’s!
Scriptural historians have determined that there was somewhere between 1 – 2 years between Jesus calling His disciples (Matthew 4:18; Mark 1:16; Luke 5) and sending them out (Matthew 10; Mark 6). Historians also set the time between the Apostle Paul’s conversion in Acts 9 and him publicly proclaiming the Gospel in the Jerusalem synagogue (Acts 9:26-29) was approximately 3 years (he proclaimed it briefly in Damascus after His conversion). It was another 10+ years before he is sent on his first missionary journey having been set apart by The Holy Spirit with Barnabas to do so (Acts 13).
Jesus said in Matthew 28:19, …go and make disciples of all peoples… In order to make disciples we must first be disciples. In a previous article, “So You Got Grace, What’s Next?” I talk about this command being to all of us as Christ followers not just to trained experts. In the original language (Greek) it also means, “as you go along the way” emphasizing that it is much more about our lives than it is just telling people about Jesus (we need to do both). If our lives don’t match up with our words we may do more damage than good when it comes to “making disciples?”
First Be A Disciple
So what does it look like to be a disciple of Christ? There are many commands in Scripture that point to what it means to be His follower or disciple. I know we don’t like the word “commands” but that’s what they are and this was fully expected by the writers and understood and responded to by those who originally received the letters we’ve come to know as The Bible. We should take them just as seriously to honor our Lord!
I want to focus on 2 commands that I believe lay a strong foundation for living out the rest. We’ve already discussed that the 1st and 2nd (and 3rd) greatest commands deal with loving God, loving who we are in Christ so we can love our neighbors. We need to begin where God begins as we shared about His priority and order when it comes to commands and love. But, you may ask, “How do I get there?”
Living Sacrifice – Our Reasonable Response
Paul told the believers (disciples) in Rome what it means to be a follower of Jesus after all that He’s done for us (Romans 8 – 11). “Therefore, 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, which is your reasonable act of service (worship). 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.” Romans 12:1-2.
Three things we are called to in this passage:
- Give my body (self/life) back to God as a living sacrifice as this is the “reasonable” response to what He’s (Christ) done for me;
- Don’t conform to the world’s way of doing things, but;
- Transform my way of thinking and living in line with His Word.
As we respond “logically” (reasonably) to what He’s done for us, we choose to think in line with His Word rather than follow the culture. In so doing we begin to recognize and live out His will in a way that others can see it, test it and realize it is from Him as well! That’s what disciples look like…and it takes time to mature in this and as we do others begin to see more and more of our Lord!
Modeling Our Lord – Humility
One of the other key “ingredients” to being His disciple and rubbing off on others as we go along the way is that of Humility. In another letter Paul writes, “Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others. In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus.” Philippians 2:3-5
Look what Paul does here…he clearly gives us what it looks like to live as a disciple and emphasizes that we should do so because in this way we are modeling our Lord:
- Don’t be selfish
- Don’t be vain (prideful)
- Walk in humility – place others above yourself
- Don’t just look after yourself but look after others
- This is the mindset that comes from our Lord…build your relationships according to His design!
One Paul, One Timothy in Your Life
Following the Biblical teaching, we are to study and work to be Christ’s disciples and we are to do it in relationship with Him and one another. Looking first to Christ as our Lord we then should find at least one person more mature in the faith than us to be a “Paul” in our life and at least one who is younger (less mature) in the faith that can be a “Timothy” that we pour into. We should always be being discipled by one more mature and be discipling at least one who is less mature, growing together in The Lord.
Finally, this should begin in our homes as spouses and parents. Moms and dads be the “Paul or Pauline” in your children’s live as they are your first and most important “Timothy(s) or Timothena(s).” If we are modeling Christ to them then He is not only encouraging and blessing them, He is growing us! This is how we build His family, The Church, by being and making disciples first in our own!
Make it a great day and God bless in Christ!
Love and Lordship…Food for Thought – Have you accepted Christ as Savior and stopped there? God has so much more in store and it begins with our obedient response to take what Christ has done in us (made us holy) by giving it back to Him as a living sacrifice…die to our selfish desires for His sake and glory!
Love and Lordship…Action Item – During your quiet time with The Lord this week ask Him to show you where you are surrendering to Him and the areas of your life that you’ve not been willing to sacrifice to Him for His will.