What Is A Disciple?

By Angie Lewis

The bible tells us that anyone who has taken up his or her own cross to follow Jesus is His disciple. Discipleship involves growing in our faith as we walk and learn about Christ and His teachings for our life. We may think that Christ’s disciples were great men of faith, but in the beginning of their discipleship service they were like anyone else who is inexperienced in their walk with Christ. Over time, they did become obedient and firm disciples for Christ because they persevered.

As Jesus walked beside the Sea of Galilee, he saw Simon and his brother Andrew casting a net into the lake, for they were fishermen. ‘Come, follow me,’ Jesus said, ‘and I will make you fisher’s of men.’ At once they left their nets and followed him.
Mark 1:23


When Jesus calls us to follow Him, we are to do the same. Like the disciples of Jesus’ day it may take some time for us to fully understand what our calling is and how we can help to build up His kingdom. But there are three conditions that must be met before we can take up our cross and follow Christ. We must be willing to deny self, which means to give up the old life of sin, selfishness, and worldly desires. The second condition is we must take up our cross, which means literally to throw off the old person and become the new person in attitude and in spirit – we must die and be reborn a new man or woman. And third, we must follow Him wherever he leads us. Where is Christ leading you?

And he said to them all, ‘If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily and follow me. For whomsoever will save his life shall lose it: but whosoever will lose his life for my sake, the same shall save it.
Luke 9:23, 24


The disciples of Christ’s days did not understand God’s Kingdom, much like many Christians today do not understand the process and workings of God’s kingdom. The disciples wanted to know if they could sit on the right side of Jesus in His power and glory – they wanted to be glorified with Jesus!

They replied, ‘let one of us sit at your right and the other at your left in your glory’. 'You don’t know what you are asking,' Jesus said, 'Can you drink the cup I drink or be baptized with the baptism I am baptized with?'  'We can', they answered. Jesus said to them, ‘You will drink the cup I drink and be baptized with the baptism I am baptized with, but to sit at my right or left is not for me to grant. These places belong to those for whom they have been prepared.'
Mark 10:37-39


The Disciples thought that Jesus was going to establish an earthly kingdom and James and John wanted honored places in this kingdom. But Christ’s kingdom is not of this world – it is not centered in palaces, castles and other buildings, but is in the hearts and minds of His followers. Christ spiritual kingdom is alive today in the hearts and minds of believers all over the world!

Instead, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first must be slave of all. For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.
Mark 10:43-44


Discipleship is servitude for the Lord and His spiritual kingdom here on earth. It takes faithful conviction within a person’s character to remain steadfast and dedicated in serving the Lord. Most Christian’s can become the disciples that God wants them to be if they realized how important they are as individuals to God’s kingdom. God’s Kingdom needs doers not just listeners! That is why we need to seek out God’s will for our lives every single day and every hour of the day.

The one who sows to please the Spirit, from the Sprit will reap eternal life. Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.
Galatians 6:8-9


The disciples of Jesus’ day did stumble and fall once in awhile, but Christ encouraged them and they marched on with steadfast devotion and loyalty. What an excellent example for us when we stumble and fall. Get back up and learn from your fall. We’ll never be perfect in this world, but that’s ok, because if we continue on with fervor we will get better, and that is what all God’s disciples should be striving for - to be the disciple that Christ wants them to be for His spiritual kingdom on earth.

But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.
Philippians 3:13-14

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