What is discipleship? It is not knowing more information about Jesus but knowing Jesus and being transformed into his image by constant exposure to God’s grace.
Jesus naturally discipled the disciples by hanging out and growing with them 24/7. This enabled the disciples to become more Christ-like in their behaviour. Becoming more Christ-like is the desire for us as believers. When we commit to Christ we die to ourselves and surrender to God. However, the journey to becoming more Christ-like is not something passive, we need to be active in being more like Christ.
Let’s look at three ways we can become more Christ-like.
- Spend time with our Father as Jesus did. We want to be overflowing with God’s love on a daily basis so it is really important to spend time with our Father. We are reminded in Colossians 3:10-14:
‘Put on your new nature, and be renewed as you learn to know your Creator and become like him. In this new life, it doesn’t matter if you are a Jew or a Gentile, circumcised or uncircumcised, barbaric, uncivilized, slave, or free. Christ is all that matters, and he lives in all of us. Since God chose you to be the holy people he loves, you must clothe yourselves with tenderhearted mercy, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience. Make allowance for each other’s faults, and forgive anyone who offends you. Remember, the Lord forgave you, so you must forgive others. Above all, clothe yourselves with love, which binds us all together in perfect harmony.’
Therefore as we seek to be more Christ-like we need to spend time with our Father to allow his love to overflow from us in all our actions.
- We need to stop for the one and allow ourselves to be interrupted. Jesus demonstrates that so well for us in Mark 5:24-34 where he is rushing to heal Jarius daughter. However, when the woman who has been bleeding for 12 years touches his cloak and he feels the healing power flow out of from him, he decides to stop. There are always crowds around Jesus and even his disciples suggest to him that there are many around him, obviously someone will touch his cloak! However, it is so beautiful that Jesus stops and spends time speaking with this woman and affirms her that her faith is what brought her healing. I am often so busy I don’t have time to stop, yet alone stop for just one person when I am rushing somewhere else. My friend, Esther, is such an example of this. Whenever she pops to the shops it will take her at least 30 minutes as she stops to greet people and becomes available to anyone who she walks past. I am challenged by how Jesus stops for the one and wonder what that would look like in my life.
- Matthew 28 firmly tells us to go and make disciples in all the nations. However, for some reason we don’t always go with a sense of urgency. Jesus goes with a sense of urgency and we see that in Luke 7:11 ‘Soon afterward Jesus went’. He didn’t go a few days later but soon afterwards. He is going to Nain and in Luke we later find out that when he arrives at Nain he raises a widow’s son from the dead. It strikes me that if Jesus hadn’t moved with a sense of urgency would he have bumped into the funeral procession then. If we don’t move with a sense of urgency then what opportunities are we going to miss.
So, we need to firstly remind ourselves of how Jesus see’s us and allow his love to overflow from within us. We need to be 'interruptable' and be willing to stop for the one and finally we need to go and make disciples across all nations and we need to go with a sense of urgency.
(This article was first shared as a TED-style talk at the March Urban Saints Team Gathering.)