After we have been born again, the next step in our progression toward maturity in Christ is to become a disciple. A disciple is a student but it is much more than that. A disciple in biblical times was one whose primary devotion of life was to be like their teacher. They awoke in the morning thinking of their teacher, the day centered on learning from him, and they went to bed at night reviewing what they had learned. A disciple’s whole life revolved around learning from their teacher. And the great teachers would not even consider taking a disciple who was not this completely devoted. How much more does The Teacher, The Son of God, deserve this devotion from His disciples? Let’s read just a few statements that Jesus made about His disciples:
“A disciple is not above his teacher, but everyone who is perfectly trained will be like his teacher” (Luke 6:40).
We can see here that a disciple is to become like his teacher. The first calling of a disciple of Christ is to be like Him, which is demonstrated by the fruit of the Spirit.
“If anyone comes to Me and does not hate his father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters, yes, and his own life also, he cannot be My disciple” (Luke 14:26).
Aren’t we supposed to honor our fathers and mothers and to love our brothers and sisters? Of course we are. It is unfortunate that some Greek words do not translate exactly into English. But this verse implies that there is no relationship we will not sacrifice, if necessary, in order to be Christ’s disciple. Many have to make this choice, especially if they are converting from other religions. All must be devoted to following Christ more than anyone else, even our closest family and friends.
“And whoever does not bear his cross and come after Me cannot be My disciple” (Luke 14:27).
The life of discipleship in Christ is a life of sacrifice. He came to lay down His life so that we may live; and His disciples live a life of sacrifice so that others may find the life that is only in Him.
“So likewise, whoever of you does not forsake all that he has cannot be My disciple” (Luke 14:33).
What does it mean to forsake all that we have? It means we must forsake all that we have. We do not count anything as our own, because we have been bought with a price, and we are not even our own. Anything we possess, we are a steward of. We treat it as if it is the Lord’s, because it is. This means giving it and using it for His purposes whenever He demands it.
We can stop here and consider, how many Christians do we know who are really living the life of a disciple? Can you even think of any pastors or leaders who are living this way? Most Christians would probably say that they do not really know anyone who is.
There is more we need to cover about true biblical discipleship, but for now let us consider what this really means and if we are going to be a true disciple of Christ.