Have you ever wondered what it means to be a disciple of Christ?
The Great Commission (Matthew 28:19-20) tells us to go make disciples. But what exactly is a disciple? I asked myself that recently and went on a quest to find out. Turns out if you search the Bible for the phrase “my disciple” you get some amazing results.
Here are four characteristics of a disciple along with some questions to ponder.
Bear Much Fruit
John 15:4,8 (NIV)
4 Remain in me, as I also remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me. 8 This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples.
Do people look at your life and want to pick your fruit?
That question sounds kind of like the start of a lame pick-up line, but it’s valid here. ;)
Would people want to eat the fruit of encouragement they see from your life? Would they see how you’re slow to speak and quick to listen and want that fruit in their life?
Or would they take a bite from the fruit of your life (e.g., pride, selfishness) and want to spit it out immediately?
Love One Another
John 13:34-35 (NIV)
34 “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. 35 By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”
Have you been demonstrating the love of Christ to the co-worker who annoys the crap out of you? Are you cussing people out, flipping them the bird when they piss you off on the road?
Remain Faithful to Jesus’ Teachings
John 8:31 (NLT)
31 Jesus said to the people who believed in him, “You are truly my disciples if you remain faithful to my teachings.
Being “faithful to my teachings” means put it into practice. Consistently.
James 1:22 (NIV)
22 Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says.
Can you honestly say the Word of God regularly impacts your life? Or that you even read the Bible regularly, let alone have it consistently affect your actions?
Are you quick to obey Jesus’ teachings? Even when it’s uncomfortable and seemingly not beneficial to you?
Luke 9:23 (NIV)
23 Then he said to them all: “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me.
Following Jesus is not a casual decision (cf. Luke 14:25-35).
Are you willing to leave behind and give up everything in pursuit of Jesus? Even your spouse, your family or your own personal success?
So, Are You a Disciple?
These four characteristics really gave me some tangible things to think about. Do I demonstrate these characteristics in my life?
I hope they did the same for you.
What do you think about this list? Anything missing? What’s it mean for you to be called a disciple?