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4 Biblical Principles to Help Define a Disciple

Apr 23, 2021 10:00:00 AM

The word “disciple” is talked about a lot in the church, but what does being a disciple actually mean? Because the word is so often associated with the New Testament Gospels and the 12 disciples we miss the fact that we are called to be disciples in today's world too! Jesus commands us as his followers to “go therefore and make disciples of all nations…”(Matthew 28:18-19) 

But if we don’t know what a disciple is, how will we be able to make them? 

Here are 4 biblical principles that can help define what a disciple is and how to live that out in today's world! 

Believes in Jesus’ Teachings (Matt.10:24)

The word disciple comes from the Greek word mathetes which translates to “a learner” in english. So basically in order for us to be a disciple we need to be learners; students of Jesus and all that he taught. The most amazing part about this is that we don’t have to look very far to find what he taught! The Gospels are full of Jesus’ teachings that we are able to follow and look to when we need guidance and direction.

Understands the Weight of the Cross 

Jesus died on the cross because God loved the world and everyone in it so much that he gave his son to die for us (John 3:16) and pay the ultimate price with his life to conquer sin and death. To be a disciple of Jesus we need to understand the weight of the cross and recognize that if we choose to follow him we agree to carrying our cross and chasing after him with our lives (Luke 14:27-33). This means we have to believe that what He did on the cross happened, that he did rise from his grave three days later, and that we now take part in his suffering. Feeling the weight of what Jesus did allows us to partake in his suffering and be more aware of how we should live our lives in the context of it. It is the cost we get to count, but he is so worthy of it.

Acknowledges the Holy Spirit 

In John 14:26 Jesus talks about the Holy Spirit as the helper who is being sent in Jesus’ name to teach all things and to help us remember everything that Jesus has said and done for us. God knew that as humans we needed help to remember and because of that he sent the Holy Spirit. Being a disciple of Jesus means we need to acknowledge the fact that the Holy Spirit is present with us and intends to help us as we navigate what Jesus taught and how to live like He did. 

Imitates the Life that Jesus Lived on Earth

In Paul’s letter to the Corinthian church he writes, “Be imitators of me, as I am of Christ.” (1 Corinthians 11:1) to encourage them to follow in the footsteps of Jesus so that they would bring glory to God in everything that they do. Imitating Jesus is a part of being a disciple because it enables us to put actions to what we have learned from him - to move in a direction of growth rather than just head knowledge. The life of Jesus should move us to action: to love others without condition, to serve those around us, and to welcome others into the Kingdom of God without needing to receive something in return. He lived a selfless life that changed the world for the better.

Being a disciple doesn’t have to be hard, it requires a heart to learn from Jesus and his life, to understand the impact of the cross and the importance of the Holy Spirit encouraging us towards a life lived like Jesus. The best part about it is we don’t have to rely on our own strength to do it because right after he commands us to go and make disciples he leaves us with a promise that he will be with us always (Matt. 28:20).

If you are interested in furthering your discipleship our Discipleship Training School could be the perfect place to start! Our 6 month program encourages learning, growing, and then going to the nations to share the love of Jesus.

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