Two of the most common questions associated with Christianity is how can I be a disciple of Christ and what is a disciple of Christ? Both of those questions can be answered with one word – student. A disciple is an individual who disciplines himself with the teaching and practices of Jesus Christ. The term, disciple, can be found in the New Testament in Gospels and/or Acts.
One of the most important characteristics of being a disciple (student to Christ) is to develop a close relationship with God through Christ. A student of Christ is not succumbed to research methodology, instead they are equipping their discipleship with God’s word, prayer, doctrine, worship, encouragement, and servitude.
Qualities of a true disciple of Christ differ for everyone, but the foundation is basically the same; however, you must keep an open mind and cultivate the groundwork to assimilate with your uniqueness. Here are the basic ways to be a good disciple of Christ.
Discipleship training requires a great deal of commitment and fortitude. This is articulated in Matthew 28 18-20. “Then Jesus came to them and said, ‘All authority in heaven and on earth has been given me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commended you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”
It’s not going to be easy, but it is important that you stay committed and not give up. Christ followers will learn more about themselves through the discipleship and discover salvation that seemed hidden.
Live a Joyful Life
Jesus Christ did not sacrifice so much to hold it over his children’s head. John 3:17 reiterates this belief – “For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.”
Living a love-filled life that is filled with excitement and joy will contribute to a disciple’s positive outlook and the desire of a hopeful future. Disciples that live a joyous life can repent, transform and have access to more resources for a better life.
Avoid Trendy Influence
We live in such an “I” focused world. Think about it. The most popular phone is an iPhone. Social media is all about an individual’s life and provides an extremely superficial view. Everyone is consumed by looking a certain way and living a specific ideal. There are filters for everything except reality.
However, a good disciple will not lose focus of what is important. Not only can they identify the trendiness of things, but they are able to hone in on falsehoods that lie within the influences of the world.
Control Over Reckless Behavior
As human beings it is important to identify self-control. While it can be difficult to grasp, at times, it’s important to understand our individual emotions and actions. We all encounter good and bad people every day, but disciples serve Christ if they respond to adversity with kindness and an open mind.
Good disciples possess knowledge and understanding that two wrongs do not make a right. Instead of reacting to negative behavior with another negative action, disciples comfort and get to the root of the problem – in hopes that their efforts will create positive change.
Authentically Lives a Christ-like Life
In Matthew 5:14-16 Jesus says, “You are the light of the world. A city built on a hill cannot be hid. No one after lighting a lamp puts it under the bushel basket, but on the lampstand, and it gives light to all in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father in heaven.” Jesus tells his followers that it’s going to take work, but a little bit of light can go a long way. It’s easy to get bogged down with the frustrations of our daily life, but it’s important to keep our visions in hindsight and not be detoured by the less than shiny ordeals that take place.
Author Jodi Picoult echoes this crucial life lesson, “There’s always going to be bad stuff out there. But here’s the amazing thing – light trumps darkness, every time. You stick a candle into the dark, but you can’t stick the dark into the light.”
Recognize God’s Strength
To be a true disciple, an individual must recognize and appreciate God’s strength because Christians cannot live in this world without the strength of the Lord. No one can get away from suffering; however, suffering is only bearable if the Lord is by your side. Only two people know your weaknesses – you and the Lord. Therefore, the only person who understands your struggle is your Lord and Savior. Use that knowledge to aid your efforts of reformation and renewal. Disciples have the strongest person in their corner and He’ll never leave.
Discipleship is often convoluted because it means something different to everyone. And, that is perfectly okay and completely normal. We are all individuals and our execution will vary because we are not programmed robots with the same hopes, dreams, thoughts, and feelings. However, that difference doesn’t mean we cannot all have the same foundational viewpoints. At the end of the day, good means good, and disciple translates to student. Be a good student. Be willing to learn. Be willing to search for answers. Be willing to get lost. Be willing to ask questions. Be hopeful.
The qualities of a true disciple of Christ are contingent on your willingness to be a student of God. Sometimes that means you’ll have answers and other times that means you won’t. Either way it doesn’t really matter because you have the Lord.