We have all heard the term Disciple – but what exactly is a disciple? According to the World English Dictionary: (1) a follower of the doctrines of a teacher or a school of thought. (2) one of the personal followers of Christ during his earthly ministry.
Also according to Bible Dictionary: a scholar, sometimes applied to the followers of John the Baptist. A disciple of Christ is one who (1) believed his doctrine, (2) rests on his sacrifice, (3) imbibes his spirit, and (4) imitates his example. (Mat. 10:24; Luke 14:26-27, 33, John 6:69).
I've reviewed several definitions, most reference the word disciple to religion, predominately Christianity. I find the definition of the Bible Dictionary second notation most applicable to the course of this series. However, the choice of discipleship begins with the person's decision which course of study they will follow, before they can believe the doctrine. (Doctrine is a fancy term for teaching or instruction).
The following is an excerpt from my new book Footsteps of Jesus – Becoming a Disciple
Chapter 1 – What is a Disciple
A disciple, plain and simple, is a student who has chosen a specific discipline or educational path under the leadership of a master/instructor. The master/instructor’s function is to develop the student to reach their full potential.
Those who have chosen to follow Jesus as their Lord have entered into this master/student relationship. The Holy Spirit is our guidance counselor; He guides us to become just like Jesus, on the outside. Through a designed plan, the Holy Spirit encourages the disciple to reach their fullest potential, yet this can only be accomplished through the willingness of the student.
We all come from different backgrounds having a particular set of weaknesses and strengths. The Lord knows us very well and His plans for us are good (Jeremiah 29:11). So our discipleship program is custom designed, unique to each individual. We are never to judge another believer because we are all works in progress.
No matter where we are in our walk with Jesus, a new relationship or walking for some time, discipleship training takes on many forms throughout the course of our lives. Yes, it's a life-long process!
Beginning with initial trust, believing Jesus is the Savior and saying it with our mouth, we received new life in Christ. As a new born again creations, we enter into a love relationship where the Holy Spirit fills us with the knowledge we are God’s own children. Seeking to know Him more, we begin to grow in knowledge and wisdom.
This reminds me of when I first enrolled in college. I was nervous about the undertaking, but excited to get on to a new career path. I began to looking into classes, trying to get feed back from other students who had taken the same courses. Upperclassmen are a great resource of information about instructors and requirements. I discovered many times you just have to take it on faith that the class you enrolled in will prove an enjoyable experience. Stuck in a lousy class for the whole semester can be disastrous.
We've followed the world's ideas and teaching, this is obvious from the amount of broken lives and relationships we are involved in or know personally. Jesus came to restore our relationship with the Father, our source of life, by destroying the power sin had over our lives and teach about the Father's love for us.
This freedom is available to everyone, but most ignore the drawing of the Holy Spirit to come to Jesus. It's only when a step of faith is taken do people discover the truth, Jesus is real.
Believing who Jesus is, is the first step of discipleship.
Next in this Discipleship Series - The Response