One of my biggest struggles in the church today is the number of people who have heard a short (or long) evangelistic message, raised their hand (with no one looking), repeated a short prayer with everyone else (even other believers) and then consider themselves a disciple of Jesus. They go to a church service each weekend and maybe on Wednesday. They show up at the church potluck. They give a few dollars into the offering each week. If you asked them, “are you a disciple of Jesus?” they would likely say “yes”.
I beg to differ and I think that many churches are doing a disservice to their members by not pressing in to this subject of what does it mean to be a true disciple. It’s actually pretty easy. Jesus told us in John 8:31, “…"If you continue in My word, then you are truly disciples of Mine.”
If you continue in My Word – my teachings, then you are a true disciple. Now, Jesus wasn’t saying that to be saved, you needed to do anything more than to believe in Him as the one and only Savior who died for our sins, was buried and resurrected on the third day, and now sits at the right hand of Father God, in heaven.
What he was saying is that there is more than just a prayer. More than just a Get Out of Hell Free Card. Jesus’ own expectation was that everyone would become a disciple who would go into the world preaching (sharing) the gospel of Jesus and making disciples who go and make disciples. Yet, likely over 90% of the people sitting in a church service each weekend, would not be considered a disciple. They are going to heaven, but not fulfilling their Jesus given purpose here on earth.
So, what does this look like? Do you have to quit your job and go to Bible College or Seminary? No, it means that you should be studying the Word of God (the Bible) every day. It should be guiding your decisions every day of your life. It should be changing you from the inside out, as your spirit person gains control over your soul (mind, will, and emotions) and body (flesh). The Word should change how you think and act.
Beyond studying the Bible on your own, it helps to study with others, so find a good Bible study where you and other true disciples can rightly divide the Word and then apply it to your lives.
If you want to be a true disciple, then you continue in Jesus’ Word for the rest of your life. Will you give up some TV time, Social Media time, nap time (I know I’m stepping on toes with this one), play time, to continue in the Word. Jesus gave it all for you, will you give it all for Him and become a true disciple?