Last Sunday, Pastor Jesse began a four week teaching on Discipleship at Sierra Bible Church’s evening service. One of the first questions that he posed to us and then answered was, “What is a disciple?” He then shared with the congregation a three-part definition that I have not been able to shake from my mind all week.
When Jesus Speaks We Listen
When Jesus Commands We Obey
When Jesus Moves We Follow
The bottom line to all of this is, a disciple is one who is growing in Christ, listening, obeying, and following. Disciples do not stand still in their spiritual development, they are continually pressing on in Christ.
One thing that I have learned over the years as I have watched my wife, Sandy, teach piano is that no matter how much you know there is always more to learn. If that is true of the piano, how much more is true of our infinite God? Yet, many Christians seem to be content just where they are, displaying little hunger to know more and experience more of the abundant life in Christ. When Jesus said, “Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will opened to you” (Matthew 7:7), He was not speaking of a one-shot proposition, what He literally said was, “Ask, and keep asking, seek, and keep seeking, knock, and keep knocking.” He then said, “For everyone who keeps asking receives, he who keeps seeking finds, and to him who keeps knocking it will be open” (Matthew 7:8).
When in the fifth grade at Clover Trinity Lutheran School, my religion class textbook was titled Growing in Christ. It spoke of a growing that never ceases. The writer of Hebrews rebuked believers who had stopped growing with these words, “for though by this time you ought to be teachers, you have need again for someone to teach you the elementary principles of the oracles of God, you have come to need milk and not meat” (Hebrews 5:12-12). All too many Christians, that ought to by this time be teaching others, are still babies on milk, because they have ceased grow, to go on with Christ to maturity.
Of discipleship, Jesus said, “If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross daily and follow Me” (Luke 9:23). Discipleship is an ever-moving, ever-growing process towards spiritual maturity. Of this growth the apostle Paul wrote, “As a result, we are no longer children, tossed here and there by waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine…but speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in all aspects into Him who is the head, even Christ” (Ephesians 4:14-15).
According to the definition above, are you a disciple?