"I have loved you with an everlasting love; I have drawn you in with loving-kindness. I will build you up again and you will be rebuilt...and go out to dance with the joyful." - Jeremiah 31: 3-4

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Being a Disciple of Jesus.

Discipleship has always been an interesting topic to me. What is a disciple? How do you disciple others? Who is fit to disciple? How can you be a good disciple? What is required for a discipleship to be beneficial? So I began studying discipleship in the Bible. I looked at what Jesus asks of His disciples and in turn what He promises them as His followers.

The first thing I noticed was that Jesus says the words "follow me" a lot. He doesn't just say "believe in me," although obviously believing is the first step... He says follow me. He tells everyone and anyone to believe in Him. John 5:24 "...whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me..." John 7:38 "Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said..." Anyone can believe in God. He throws that out there for the world. If you believe, you will be given eternal life, a beautiful, wonderful, amazing, gracious gift from our Father in Heaven. But who does He tell to follow Him? His disciples.

"The next day Jesus decided to leave for Galilee. Finding Philip, He said to him, "Follow me." - John 1:43.
"And Jesus said to them, "Follow me, and I will make you become fishers of me." - Mark 1:17.
"And when He had spoken this, He said to him [Peter], "Follow Me!" John 21:19

I looked up what the word "follow" means in Greek. "To be in the same way with, to follow after, close upon, to follow intently after." Intently, I loved that. We are called to follow Him intently. With purpose. Intentionally seeking Him. So already with my Greek dictionary open, I looked up the word "disciple." I wasn't really sure why I hadn't done this already since it was the main point in my study, but better late than never. It listed the obvious ones, "a learner, follower of a teacher, pupil," but what I found interesting was the last sentence in the definition. "After Christ's death and resurrection, the term disciple takes the broader sense of follower, believer, i.e. Christian."

To call yourself a Christian is to call yourself a disciple of Jesus Christ. And to call yourself a disciple of Jesus Christ means promising to follow Him, obey Him, love Him, trust Him, serve Him, have faith in Him, not be ashamed of Him, do as He did, honor Him and share His love with others.

Is it easy to be a disciple? I don't think so. It's much "easier" to live as the world lives and disregard all existence of something higher, something more meaningful, something deeper. But is it better to be a disciple? Oh yeah, it's the best thing we can achieve while we're here on earth. The world is a temporary place. It will disappear and all will be destroyed. But the glory of God will live forever. We will live forever if we are believers and followers of Jesus Christ! Death is a terrible thing but Christians rejoice in the fact that we are not created to die, we are created to live and to live forever with the One who created us!

In my opinion, being a disciple of Jesus is not simply believing. Even though that is all you have to do to receive eternal life, that is not enough for me. I don't want to just believe, I want to follow! I want to be a disciple of Jesus Christ, continually growing and learning in my relationship with Him.

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