Scripture Reading: Matthew 28
“A disciple is not above his teacher, but everyone who is perfectly trained will be like his teacher.” – Luke 6:40
More than good intentions
A disciple is defined as one who is a pupil or apprentice of a teacher. While it is true that we as Christians should be disciples of Jesus, where does that begin? What is the “gauge” for true discipleship? Do we call ourselves disciples merely based on believing in Jesus’ payment for and forgiveness of our sins then go on with life however we’d like, still claiming to follow Him, or is there more to being a disciple than just claiming a name? It is true that Jesus’ death makes the new life possible! We’re going to see that true discipleship has a starting point at the cross of Jesus, but that is just the beginning!
Many times, as humans, we have seemingly good intentions. They are unfortunately flawed, because of our sin nature. Only true goodness comes from God; who is both the standard and purity of good in the universe. Maybe our good intention was to sincerely receive the free gift of salvation and then claim to follow or be a disciple of Jesus, but that is where it ends in terms of our life. Sometimes this occurs and we don’t even realize it, because we feel we are fully devoted to Jesus whenever someone asks us. While it is true that because of Jesus’ sacrifice for us, He has forgiven our sins and made us alive with Him (Colossians 2:13-14), forgiveness is not discipleship. This is merely a gateway to a glorious relationship and true discipleship that will last for eternity.
Authentication of the relationship
You may be asking how true discipleship occurs and what it looks like, since it is more than just having our sin forgiven. How do we discern what we should be doing, saying and then living? We find the key to being discipled by God in Philippians 2:5-8, with the example of Jesus. The phrase “He humbled Himself and became obedient” is crucial. We see the same pattern of thought in various texts, such as Luke 22:42 and Mark 14:36, where Jesus proclaims “not my will be done, but yours”, speaking of the Father’s will in place of His. Obedience to God the Scriptures, out of a love for Jesus and a humbling of ourselves and seeing Him as master over us, will result in being a disciple.
Capability for discipleship
Just as we believe that Jesus’ payment on the cross, in our place, was sufficient for eternal life, so we must take His words, the Scriptures, and apply them to our lives. Being a true disciple is emulating the life of our teacher, Jesus. Do not be overwhelmed! God has supplied everything necessary for the task at hand; which will be done through His strength over our lifetime! We have been given the Holy Spirit, who will guide us, convict us, strengthen us and comfort us as we attempt to live the example that Jesus left with us in His Word. We develop and change in this relationship every day; being transformed by the truth of Scripture and what God says of us now that we have accepted His forgiveness. We apply this truth (by faith) to our lives and realize we no longer have to be slaves to sin! The ability to choose what brings glory to God is now within our grasp. Even if we fail, there is a means to get right with God and get right back on track with Him (1 John 1:9).
What about you?
Are you of the understanding that being a disciple of Jesus means that we’ve accepted His free gift of salvation, only to then live our lives as we please? Or do you now see that there is opportunity and means to a glorious relationship with God?