Disciple of Christ. As a Christian, such a title should be your driving ambition. Disciple—μαθητής in Greek—appears 269 times in the New Testament. This word always refers to followers of a particular leader, most commonly Christ. First century disciples were obvious. They would sacrifice everything to follow their master and learn his ways. Pharisees had disciples. Trade workers had disciples. Jesus had disciples.
In our modern vernacular, a disciple would be similar to an intern. He would follow his master with the intent to one day become just like him. The disciples of Christ desired to learn His teachings and His way in order to become like Him—and ultimately to train others to be like Him. First century disciples could be clearly identified, but modern-day disciples may no be so easily spotted. Even still our goal is the same—look like Christ and teach others to look like Him.
Defining the marks of a modern-day disciple can be difficult. We fill our schedules with Bible studies, prayer lists, accountability conversations, and church attendance, but have we really become better disciples? This discussion should be a lengthy one for all Christians to consider, but today we will start with the basics. A disciple of Christ is about being, knowing, and doing life like Christ.
Being – Is you mind Gospel-oriented? Examine your thoughts and motivations. Being like Christ transforms the way you think about your friends, family, and enemies. You relate to coworkers, neighbors, and strangers with an eternal mindset. Jesus was very intentional about every word He spoke and every contact He made. His disciples will carefully inspect their intentions as well.
Knowing – Christ left His disciples with the command to teach others to observe all things He had taught them. (Matt. 28:20) We should consume His word and commands—which is a lifelong journey. The more we know Him, the more we will want to know Him. Studying the Scriptures through church services, Bible studies, discipleship books, daily devotionals, formal training, and other methods can help us know Him better. We should constantly evaluate how well we know Him and how we can know Him better.
Doing – What did you do today that will impact eternity forever? Too often Christians spend the bulk of their time and energy on projects that won’t matter next week, let alone for eternity. God has made us stewards over the time and ability He gave us. As disciples of Christ, we must assess all that we do to ensure we are bringing Him the most glory.
Bible studies, prayer lists, accountability conversations, church attendance, and a ton of other programs can help a disciple start being, knowing, and doing. However, our schedules will be overwhelmed and distracted when these programs act as a substitute to being, knowing, and doing, Take some time this week and consider whether your current journey of discipleship is leading you toward being, knowing, and doing. If not, make some changes! More than likely your discipleship journey focuses on one facet more than the other two—being, knowing, OR doing. Ensure that you journey of growing as a disciple of Christ is balanced, intentional, and focused.
Gospel Centered Discipleship by Jonathan Dodson
Multiply: Disciples Making Disciples by Francis Chan
Follow Me: A Call to Die by David Platt
Andrew Hale currently serves as Associate Pastor of Education and Discipleship at Turning Point at Calvary in St. Augustine, FL. He is also enrolled at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary in their Doctor of Ministry degree program. You can connect with Andrew on both Twitter and Facebook.