Do you consider yourself a disciple of Christ? Have you ever looked deep into Scripture and let Jesus tell you what a true disciple is and how to be one? I considered myself to be a disciple of Christ for many years. Just recently I discovered that there is quite a bit more to being a disciple of Jesus than I previously thought. I came about this discovery by way of a seven year search for God.
One day I found myself standing outside in the front yard of our house. It suddenly hit me that I had everything I ever wanted. I had the perfect education, career, house, land, car, marriage, vacations, toys, and clothes. I was the kind of traditional conservative Christian I had been taught to be from childhood. Yet as I stood there, I felt empty. Empty?! I could not figure out why I felt this way. I was shocked. I did everything that everyone told me to do. I was a good person and a faithful Christian. So how could I be empty?
I didn’t find the answer to my question until 4 years later. In this time my husband and I had been asked to serve at a local congregation by helping with the youth. Then we moved to work full time in campus ministry at the local university. Suddenly I found myself not feeling empty at all! What happened? How did I go from empty and confused to fulfilled and at peace? I wanted desperately to know how this happened so I could share it with other Christians. The ones like me. The ones who are sitting in the pews and trying to be disciples. The ones who just need help to cross the bridge that I somehow crossed. I am here today to give you this key. I’m here to unlock the door to a version of Christianity you probably didn’t know existed. I couldn’t be more excited to tell you about how to become a true disciple of Christ!
First, we have to know what a disciple is. A disciple is a learner, follower, or pupil being trained for something, someone, or some purpose. We can be a disciple of anything that we choose. If we choose to be a disciple of Christ, we must follow His standards and His pattern of training. The key is in doing both. We must search scripture to see what His standards are for us and then we must train in them (1 Tim. 4:6-16). Training to be a disciple is a much different idea than many of us are use to. We normally attend church services and Bible class to receive instructions about being a follower of Christ. Training is more like what we do to get ready for sports.
Look at basketball. Say you want to learn how to shoot a free throw. First, the coach tells you what you need to know. Next, the coach shows you how to shoot a free throw. Then, with the coach by your side to help, you try the shot. After that the coach sticks with you and helps you get better and better at it by talking, showing more examples, encouraging, and letting you practice more. Once you have it down pretty well, the coach lets you start teaching the younger player and you’ll do the same thing with them that the coach did with you.
This way of teaching is exactly what Jesus did with His first disciples and what they did with the first members of Jesus’ church. All of the first disciples of Christ were trained in all parts of Christianity. We have got to do the same thing if we want to be true disciples of Christ. We can learn about, practice, get help with, and train others in all kinds all things! You and I can do this with gaining knowledge, studying the Bible with our friends, worshiping God, and serving others, just to name a few.
Start with something that interests you. If you have been wanting to learn how to study the Bible with your friends, then ask a more mature Christian to help you learn how. Let them teach you how, show you how, and then help you practice. When you’re ready you can study with your friends, help them to become Christians, and then train them how to study the Bible with their friends. Next, you can ask a Christian mentor to help you train to do something else. Soon you’ll find that your heart, mind, thoughts, and time are filled up with God’s knowledge, serving Him, helping others, and bearing the fruit in your life that a disciple of Christ produces.
You’ll be so full of Him that you can never feel empty again. You will be equipped to work for Christ and His cause for the rest of your life. That’s it! That’s how you get from the pew to the mission field of your life! It worked for Jesus, the disciples, the first members of the church, me, my husband, and every true disciple I know. It will work for you too. In fact, it’s the only life that will ever work for you because it’s the only life He created us to live (Gen. 1:27; Eph. 2:10). I encourage you to seek after Christ’s standards and the help you need to become a true, fruit bearing disciple of Christ.