April 21, 2022, 11:00 AM
discipleship, teaching, discipling

Who is a Disciple?

A disciple is someone who follows another's teachings. Christians are disciples of Jesus Christ. We follow His teachings and strive to be more like Him in our daily lives.

A very important characteristic for a Christian disciple is a desire for Christ above all else.

This doesn't mean that we are perfect, but it means that what we want most is to be more like Christ. A disciple will deny themselves for Christ (Mark 8:34-38)

Who is a disciple of Jesus Christ? The simplest definition is the person who follows His teachings and commands. We cannot call ourselves Christians yet turn around and ignore Christ's calling for our lives.

What does discipleship matter?

Imagine you start a new job and instead of getting any training, you're pushed into a complicated situation on your first day. You obviously would have no idea how to handle the situation, who to talk to, where to find supplies, or what tools are at your disposal. Now imagine that scenario but instead of just a job, it's your whole life.

When a person comes to life in Christ, they often don't know where to start. They have a lot to learn and they, ideally, need someone to teach them and, importantly, to be a role model for them.

Life is complex and we learn a lot by watching others. Discipleship is a more mature Christian coming alongside a less mature Christian to be an example and model for them. The apostle Paul mentions being an example in Philippians 4:9 "The things which you learned and received and heard and saw in me, these do, and the God of peace will be with you." Peter exhorts the church elders to "be examples to the flock" (1 Peter 5:3).

Throughout scripture, we can see that training and teaching fellow Christians is an important and repeated concept. We should be following Jesus' command to make disciples and also to teach those disciples, to engage in discipleship.

Who is supposed to disciple?

But who is qualified to disciple? Who are we to disciple?

Titus chapter 2 tells us that the older women must teach the younger as well as the older men teaching the younger. Not just this, but that the older are to be examples to the younger. An older, and presumably more mature, Christian should seek to disciple a younger and less mature Christian.

As we mature in our faith, we should seek out mentors who are more mature than us. We should also seek to mentor those less mature than us. If you are in a church body and don't know where to start, consider speaking with your pastor. He is probably aware of those that may need you in their walk and those who may be helpful to you in yours. He should be perfectly capable of pointing you in the right directions.

Finally, we are always an example to others, younger or older, and should be taking that seriously. Even if you are not specifically discipling someone, I guarantee someone is looking up to you in your church. Read your Bible, live as Christ would want you to live, and be aware of your influence on others.

What does discipleship look like?

So we've covered who is a disciple and why it matters, but what does it look like in everyday life?

When we disciple someone, we are helping them to learn and grow in their knowledge and faith. That knowledge and faith doesn't sit in a box in one part of their life. It should permeate everything they do. So when you disciple, you will be involved in that person's life in more than one way.

Discipling will look a little different for everyone. You have to figure out what works. A good place to begin is meeting up once a week or a couple times a month. Study the Bible together, talk, get to know each other a bit. Then keep going. Share your life, seek godly advice and wisdom, and live life together.

In a very practical sense, Christian discipling is friendship based on God. It is growing in faith together. It is keeping each other accountable. Your mentor should be someone you go to for advice that is firmly rooted in God's word. When the Christian you're discipling comes to you for advice, you should be seeking to give them wisdom from God's word.

Discipleship looks like life. It looks like friendship. It looks like coffee hours. It looks like board game nights. It looks like study; it looks like sharing burdens. It looks like accountability. It looks like people seeking to know God with every fiber of their beings.

Are you discipling?

The final question is, "Are you discipling?"

Are you following the Lord's command to make disciples? Are you teaching those disciples to observe God's commands?

If you are a Christian, you should be discipling other Christians and you should also be discipled in your own life. If you do not have a more mature Christian discipling you, ask your pastor to find someone whom you can learn from. If you are not discipling a less mature Christian, go to your pastor and ask him to introduce you to someone who might benefit from you coming alongside them.

The process of discipling is long and rewarding. Be willing to be taught, to be called out and corrected, and be willing to share in the lives of your fellow Christians.

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