What do the scriptures say about a disciple of Jesus Christ? We can become so focused on other things in this world — family, job, COVID-19, social unrest, election season — that we forget that our first responsibility is to be a follower of Jesus. Are you a disciple of Jesus? You believe in Jesus. You attend services and Bible classes regularly. But is that what it means to be His disciple?
The identity of a true disciple: A true disciple puts Jesus first. We all have priorities, and all of us have something that is our top priority. If I’m going to be a true disciple of Jesus, Jesus must be at the center of my life and on the throne of my heart. Secondly, a disciple denies self. It means saying no to desires, wants and wishes. Followers are all in with their heart, soul and mind. And lastly, a disciple trains, not tries. Certain disciplines lead to certain results. If I’m going to be a Godly person, I must train myself to be Godly. God must be at work in my life.
The disciple’s relationship to himself: Paul used athletics as illustrations throughout his writings because of their popularity in ancient times. And, the athlete provides the perfect example of the kind of commitment Jesus requires from His disciples: an athlete must be committed to rigorous training (I Tim. 4:7-8; Heb. 5:14); an athlete must be committed to compete by the rules (II Tim. 2:5); and an athlete must be committed to run to win (Heb. 12:1; I Cor. 9:24-27).
The disciple’s relationship to God: We are the clay, and God is the Potter (Isaiah 64:8). We have no power over the Potter. We must remember our place. We answer to God; God doesn’t answer to us. We are molded by God’s teachings (Rom. 12:2), and this molding is a process. It takes time, and we must have the proper perspective on where we are in this spiritual journey (Phil. 3:12-16) and that it has a purpose (Eph. 2:10).
The disciple’s relationship to the brethren: “Am I my brother’s keeper?” Cain asks God in Gen. 4:9, after he killed his brother Abel. Yes, we are our brother’s keeper today. We must love, consider, provoke, exhort and restore, if needed, our brethren. God expects us to help others in the same way Jesus has helped us.
The disciple’s relationship to the world: Jesus came to seek and save the lost (Luke 19:10). We, too, must seek and save the lost; be “fishers of men,” Jesus says in Mark 1:17. As fishers of men, we have a sense of purpose. There is no greater purpose than doing the work of the Master. Additionally, we must see lost people as lost, and that should move us to the point of action (Matt. 9:35-38). And, as fishers of men, we fulfill a great need (Matt. 9:37). Pray for laborers. Accept your responsibility to the lost. Take advantage of opportunities.