What is a disciple?
A disciple is a Christian who is growing in conformity to Christ, is achieving fruit in evangelism, and is working in follow-up to conserve his fruit.
According to that definition, are you a disciple? Are you growing in conformity to Christ? Are you being fruitful – are you bringing others to Christ? Are you seeking, through discipleship, to make sure that your fruit remains? We must fully understand that being a disciple and discipleship is not merely going through a 12-lesson Bible study – it is a way of life. We can see that clearly in the passage Luke 14:26-27, 33
“If any man come to me, and hate not his father, and mother, and wife, and children, and brethren, and sisters, yea, and his own life also, he cannot be my disciple.
“And whosoever doth not bear his cross, and come after me, cannot be my disciple.
“So likewise, whosoever he be of you that forsaketh not all that he hath, he cannot be my disciple.” Luke 14:25-27, 33
So, what does the life of a disciple look like?
A Disciple is Fully Surrendered to God.
Full surrender to God is the beginning point of true discipleship.
- It is motivated by God’s mercy to us: “I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God…”
- It is complete: “…that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God…”
- It is reasonable: “…which is your reasonable service.” (Romans 12:1)
Jesus made full surrender a clear condition of discipleship. Jesus gave His life for us. Giving ours back to Him is the least we could do.
A Disciple Battles Sin and the Flesh
One of the most discouraging realizations for a new Christian is that they still sin. But, as long as we are on this earth, we will battle sin.
Sin begins in the form of a temptation – a desire that draws us away from God. (James 1:13-15) There are three main sources of temptation that we must be aware of:
The world – the world’s systems, philosophies, and practices are directed against God.
“Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him.
“For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world.” John 2:15-16
The flesh – Before you were saved, your mind, will, and emotions were trained to live apart from God. The old patterns of your mind, will, and emotions are at odds with the new patterns God wants to create in your life. Read Galatians 5:17-24.
The devil – Satan actively and persistently targets the child of God with temptation – so much so, that one of his names is even “the tempter.”
“And when the tempter came to him, he said, If thou be the Son of God, command that these stones be made bread.” Matthew 4:3
God, though, has given us the power – the ability – to overcome temptation.
“There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it.” 1 Corinthians 10:13
What is the “way of escape” that God has given us? Notice these ways God has given to us to overcome temptations.
Use the Word of God.
“Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee.” Psalm 119:11
Remember you don’t have to sin.
“For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men,
“Teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world;” Titus 2:11-12
Avoid temptation when possible.
“But put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make not provision for the flesh, to fulfil the lusts thereof.” Romans 13:14
Avoid ungodly friends.
“…neither be partaker of other men’s sins: keep thyself pure.” 1 Timothy 5:22
Ask for help.
“Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.” James 5:16
Keep short accounts with God.
“If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” 1 John 1:9
Yield to the Holy Spirit.
“This I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh.” Galatians 5:16
A Disciple Lives a Sanctified Life
The word sanctified means “set apart.” Sanctification is a process that begins at salvation and one which will not be complete until we are in Heaven! God instructs us to keep our lives pure of sin and to live in a way that is set apart to God. As we live sanctified life, God can use us in His service.
“As obedient children, not fashioning yourselves according to the former lusts in your ignorance:
“But as he which hath called you is holy, so be ye holy in all manner of conversation;
“Because it is written, Be ye holy; for I am holy.” 1 Peter 1:14-16
To live the life of a disciple we must make a definite decision to fully surrender to God. Then, we must allow God to daily search our hearts and then, as He convicts us of sin, we must quickly confess and seek God’s forgiveness. Finally, each of us must examine our own lives. Can other people see that we are living a life that is distinct from the world? The life of a disciple, while it is not always easy, is a life that is truly blessed by God. Determine to live the life of a disciple!