Today marks the half-way point to the challenge, Keep going!!! Day 15 looks at "What is a Disciple?" In order to become a disciples and make disciples, you have to have a definition of a disciple that you are trying to make and become.
ODC Disciple Definition
A disciple is a committed apprentice of the Lord Jesus Christ who is growing in Love for God and others, sent out to make disciples, all through the power of the Holy Spirit.
…a committed apprentice… of the Lord Jesus Christ
ODC’s definition of disciple rests on the confession of the earliest Christians: Jesus is Lord. If Jesus is Lord, then no one and nothing else can be. This implies exclusivity: Lordship excludes all other claims to loyalty; and totality: there is no area of life that is not under the rule of God. Jesus modeled total submission to his Father to the exclusion of all else and expects his followers to do the same. This is not something we can do by ourselves. We need each other and the power of the Holy Spirit.
…growing in love for God
We recognize discipleship as a life-long process of growing… becoming more and more like Jesus. As God reveals thoughts, attitudes, and actions that are not “Christ-like,” a committed apprentice responds by changing to be more like Christ.
The ongoing growth process is a series of baby steps of immediately obeying everything we hear Jesus commanded us to do. His first command was to love God.
Loving God includes all that we are (our soul), the expression of our emotions (heart); the exercise of our will to obey what Jesus commands (strength), and the content of our thoughts (our mind). It is not hard to see why loving God is a process that can be costly, or that seems radical. Nevertheless, it’s what Jesus expects of His followers, His disciples. (Matt 22:37)
…growing in love for others
ODC wants to form disciples who are growing in love for God (through Immediate Radical Costly Obedience) and others (by putting them first). (Mat 22:39)
Loving others extends beyond warm feelings or treating people with simple courtesy (although that is not a bad place to start). It involves listening (for many people, being heard is so close to being loved that they can’t tell the difference). We notice their needs, and take time to meet those needs by serving them.
Loving others by serving them often means inconvenience, and the sacrifice of personal time and resources. Radical hospitality… inviting our neighbors to enter into our lives… sets people at ease and fosters trusting relationships. “Welcoming the stranger” demonstrates our love for God by extending His love to those who are right in front of us.
Loving others by the practice of seeing them spiritually through the eyes of God. If we want to minister to them as Jesus would, we need to be able to see them as Jesus does.
Jesus exemplified the Missio Deo or “The Mission of God.” That is the spreading of the gospel that the Kingdom of God is at hand and ushering in that good news in a tangible way. Just as God sent Jesus in to this world to proclaim this gospel, Jesus sends us out to proclaim it as well (Joh. 17-18). Disciples are to be missionaries. Missionary defined as someone who forsakes everything but the Gospel, for the sake of the Gospel. Discipleship is actively following Jesus through the presence of the Holy Spirit out into their neighborhoods and communities. (John 17:18)
….and making disciples
Jesus’ last commandment to his disciples was for them themselves to go and make disciples. (Mat 28:19) His commandment applies to all of us as well. It is a good thing when we come to know Christ. It is a better thing when we lead someone else to Christ. It is the Greatest thing, the most Christ like thing, when we lead someone to Christ and disciple them so that they then lead someone to Christ. Moreover, the goal of discipleship is to become the most Christ-like.
…through the power of the Holy Spirit.
Finally, this definition of disciple reveals our total reliance on the power of the Holy Spirit for transformation and growth.
A core value of our House Churches is that truth is revealed through the study of scripture, in community with others, under the direction of the Holy Spirit. Gifted teachers and great curriculum are valuable but can never replace the Holy Spirit’s work in exposing the truth of scripture. Reading a few verses directly, without external commentary, allows the Holy Spirit to flow through multiple believers whose various personal experiences, traditions, reason, and spiritual gifts reveal the simple and obvious meaning of the text.
How do you make a disciple?
First and for most in my desire to make disciples is to personally answer this question, “Am I a disciple worth multiplying?” God does not desire to multiply mediocrity. He desires to multiply those who exhibit immediate, radical, costly, obedience. Discipleship is the act and process of modeling and conforming yourself to Christ. I have come to understand that there is no “easy button” to achieve this; to become or make a disciple. It requires reading Scripture more than I ever have before, praying more than I ever have before, and being openly accountable to others in the body more than I ever have been before. How I become or “make” a disciple is simple, but it is not easy. If I am not willing to consistently embrace and model this, then I cannot effectively lead others to become disciples. I cannot lead them to a place I myself am not willing to go. And no program, training, technique or tool I try to use can replace lack of obedience. Am I a disciple worth multiplying?
Link to today's challenge: