We are talking about the Great Commission work to “making disciples” (Matthew 28:19a). This was a final instruction of Christ to His select disciples before He ascended back to heaven. Every Christian is meant to be a disciple; but in today’s church, not every Christian is a disciple.
So we begin with a clarifying definition for what it means to be a “disciple.” A “disciple” is “a passionate follower who knows Christ, grows in Christ, and shows Christ in their daily lives.”
This is a dynamic, progressive position. It is not intended to be one of comfort, but rather, one of conviction. Jesus made this clear: “If anyone would come after Me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow Me.” (Luke 9:23).
A disciple places his life on the line for Christ (as did the first disciples). This is a life response to Christ’s sacrifice on their behalf.
So what are the main benchmarks of a true disciple? The following are evident in this follower’s life:
• Daily Bible study with personal life application.
• Proclamation of Christ wherever possible.
• Compassionate service to others.
All of this is done in love — the main character quality of a disciple. Jesus also made this clear in this timeless “new command” — “A new command I give you: Love one another...By this all men will know you are My disciples if you love one another.” (John 13:34 & 35).
It was Jesus’ plan that His disciples would make a radical difference in His church…and in the world. That plan and intended impact has not changed. So with courage and commitment we go forth!