There have been times in my life when I set out to accomplish a task, but the instructions were not real clear. Those are always challenging situations to find yourself in. What do I do? When do I do it? Why do I have so many extra pieces left over?
Now when it comes to the instructions that Jesus gave to his followers in his last few moments here on planet earth, the command is very clear – make disciples. Once the Holy Spirit was given to the church, then and only then could this task be accomplished. Then in the power of the Spirit, the church answered the call and began the process of making disciples in all the nations of this big blue ball.
The questions before us are: What does a disciple of Jesus look like? Or better yet, How do I know when a disciple has been made? After all, if we are going to be about the task that the church has been given, then these are questions we need answered. This is where we turn to the Scriptures for our answers. In light of what the Word of God says, Grace Life has identified 4 Core Disciplines that should be prevalent in the life of a disciple.
The life of a disciple of Jesus will be one marked by worship. This worship will be more than an event that happens on a Sunday morning. Authentic worship of the one true God is a lifestyle that marks the life of a disciple. We love God with all our heart, soul, mind, and strength. We abide in Jesus and in his Word so that we can bear much fruit. We also are continually being lead in all truth by the Holy Spirit. (Matthew 22:37, John 15:7-8 & 16:13, Psalm 1:1-2, Psalm 18:1-3, Lamentations 3:21-41, Philippians 3:3-8, Galatians 5:16)
One of the amazing things about being a disciple is that God never intended for us to be alone in this world. He has blessed his disciples with the church, the body of Christ. Each individual member uses his or her gifts and talents to build up the church as a whole. There is nothing more beautiful than to see the church truly living as God intended his church to live. As disciples, we are called to share life together no matter the circumstances. This can only be accomplished if we are abiding in Christ and looking to him to meet all of our needs. (Acts 2:42-47 & 4:32-37, 1 Corinthians 12:12-25, Ephesians 4:1-7, Romans 12:9-13)
Probably one of the most distinctive marks of a disciple is the way he or she is a servant to their church family and those around them. In fact, Jesus told us that the world would know that we are his disciples by the way we [the church] love one another. The mindset we are to have is that of Christ and He was our ultimate example of a servant. A true disciple doesn’t wait to be asked to serve. A true disciple looks for ways that he or she can serve and jumps right in! (Matt. 5:16, John 13:35, Philippians 2: 3-18, 1 Timothy 4:7-12)
Going back to Jesus’ words in Acts 1:8; he told his disciples that when they go and make other disciples they will be his witnesses to the entire world. Being a witness for Jesus is simply telling your story: Life before Jesus, your encounter with the gospel, and your life now that you are following Jesus. It really is that simple. And just because you have never had a tragic event in your life or have overcome some addiction you still have a powerful story to tell! Almighty God has snatched you right out of hell and has given you a new life full of joy and hope. That is an amazing story! Going and telling people about Jesus shouldn’t be overly complicated. In fact, I recently heard evangelism defined this way: Everyday people doing everyday things with Gospel intention. That’s it! Whatever you are doing today, do for God’s glory and you are being a witness. Tell people why you have hope, why you have joy in your life. (Acts 1:8, Colossians 4:2-6, 1 Peter 3:15, 1 Corinthians 10:31)
Using these 4 Core Disciplines, give yourself a “Disciple Check-Up” to see how well you are living for Christ. Then pray and ask the Lord to continue to make you more like Jesus as you “fight the good fight” each and every day. Pray also that you will be obedient to answer the call of the church to make disciples of all nations.