“Then Jesus said to His disciples, “If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me” Matthew 16:24 NKJV. What Jesus is saying is that for us to become a true disciple we must learn how to be discipled and it begins with letting go of who we were and embrace who we are becoming. “Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new” 2 Corinthians 5:17 KJV. However, that’s all easier said than done, it requires us to do some physical, emotional and spiritual application to make this all possible.
Becoming a disciple requires us to believe that there is a God and that we desire to serve Him. We must admit that we are sinners and that we have fallen short of His glory (Romans 3.23). We must acknowledge that we need God’s forgiveness. You see, God knew that we needed help and that if we continued in the path that we were heading death would surely be our end result, so He sent His only Son to save us from our sinful ways (John 3:16-17). Not only did He send His only Son to die for us, but to be a living example for us by demonstrating what it means to be a true disciple. The misconception that many believers have is that once they have admitted that they are sinners, confess their sins, get baptized and attend regular church services once per week, or twice on Sunday’s that’s all that is required. I must say this is all wrong, it’s not only receiving God’s forgiveness, but experiencing spiritual growth through discipleship, because salvation is only the beginning of our journey.
Discipleship is a developmental process which is manifested through biblical teachings that brings believers from a place of spiritual immaturity to a place of spiritual maturity. So that they can duplicate the process with another believer. In other words, once a disciple is discipled, through discipleship, they in turn should do the same to someone else. This is how the Great Commission which is “Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you alway, even to the end of the age” Matthew 28:19-20 KJV is fulfilled. During the discipleship process a disciple not only learns about who God is or what He’s done, but they develop how to establish and maintain an intimate relationship with God. They become equip with the word of God and its principles, they learn how to pray, worship, empower and serve. They learn how to become dependent on God.
Discipleship is not only to establish a heavenly relationship, but an earthly relationship as well. Establishing earthly relationship as disciples helps us to live a life that displays the characteristic of Jesus Christ and this happens through communication, fellowship and encouraging each other. Often it is the sharing of our testimonies and personal experiences that teaches other disciples how to overcome and stay on the path of being discipled. 1Peter 3:15 states, “But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts, and always be ready to give a defense to everyone who asks you a reason for the hope that is in you, with meekness and fear.” Transparency is an essential component in discipleship and must be ongoing. So, it is important as disciples to always experience personal growth characterized by the following:
1. Putting Jesus Christ first in all things… “For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake and the gospel’s will save it. For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul? Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul? For whoever is ashamed of Me and My words in this adulterous and sinful generation, of him the Son of Man also will be ashamed when He comes in the glory of His Father with the holy angels” Mark 8:35-38. As disciples we must not be ashamed. We must be set apart and pleasing God should always be our main priority.
2. Believe in and follow the teachings of Jesus Christ… “Then Jesus said to those Jews who believed Him, “If you abide in My word, you are My disciples indeed. And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free” John 8:31-32. As disciples we must be obedient to the word, not only by hearing or reading, but we should always be obedient to the word just as how Jesus did while he was on earth.
3. Understand that fruitfulness is a result of abiding in Jesus Christ… “I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing. If anyone does not abide in Me, he is cast out as a branch and is withered; and they gather them and throw them into the fire, and they are burned. If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, you will ask what you desire, and it shall be done for you. By this My Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit; so you will be My disciples” John 15:5-8. As disciples when we abide in Jesus, we will be able to demonstrate the fruit of the spirit because the Holy Spirit is working in and through us and as a result, we will experience changes in our lives.
4. Demonstrate genuine love for other disciples… “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another. By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another” John 13:34-35. As disciples we display love through action and not by emotion just as Jesus did.
5. Evangelism which is our goal… As disciples this is what we are mandated to do, to fulfill The Great Commission as previously mentioned. We are to share with nonbelievers the amazing changes Jesus Christ has made in our lives, as it is our duty to spread the gospel.
Proverbs 23:12 NKJV says, “Apply your heart to instruction and your ears to words of knowledge.”
If you need additional teachings on how to become a true disciple you can visit: https://www.goingplaceswithjesusministries.com/
Or need prayer: https://www.goingplaceswithjesusministries.com/prayerrequest/
Teacher Georgie-Ann Neil.
Teacher Georgie Ann Neil is a powerful Woman of God and an ordained Teacher at Going Places With Jesus Ministries. She teaches Discipleship Class every Sunday at Going Places With Jesus Ministries by utilizing biblical scriptures, methods and testimonials. Her objective is to educate and equip the body of Christ with the uncompromising Word of God so that the disciples will be propelled into living, applying and sharing the Word of God. When she is not teaching she is spending time with her husband and their four children while pursuing her Doctoral Degree in Family Therapy.