by Rev.Robert Young
Discipleship! Discipleship? Discipleship-What exactly is this concept which we understand to be so very important yet know so little about. What is this ideology which has a plethora of books written about it yet so few who have caught the vision? What is it about discipleship that makes believers put on a face of bewilderment and ministers seek for a new topic. Most believers who attend church regularly would think of themselves as disciples because they go to Sunday School and church and Bible Study. I mean what else is there. I volunteer and serve and pray. come on what else is there? The answer from my point of view for the 21 century church is compartmentalization. Wow say that 3 times fast...smiles... Ok I can't believe that some of you just tried to say that 3 times fast... Here it is you see. We have become very good at putting things in their place. I have my family things and my employment things my hobby things and my church things. And I give God my all within my church things and yes God does somehow and in many ways cross over into my other compartments, but mostly i do my best to keep them separate. The Hebrew term for disciple is taludeem, it meant to become like the rabbi you chose to follow. it grew to mean being covered by the dust of the rabbi. You literally were so close to the rabbi as you walked along that the dust he kicked up covered you. So, what does it mean to be a disciple in 21 century America? It ought to mean that I am involved in getting to know Jesus in an intimate, personal way which reflects who I am in every compartment of my life. My focus is to become like Christ.
Romans 8 tells us that God Himself predetermined that we should become like or be conformed to the image of His son so He could be the first among many. That is discipleship. To follow Gods determined desire that we His children should be like Christ. Here is a bit of trivia for you. Did you know that after the book of Acts the term disciple is never used again and used only once in the OT in Isaiah? The term however, used most often to refer to those devoted to following God both in the old and new testaments, is the word saints. The word hagios in the Greek and kadoshe in Hebrew mean holy and pure and devoted to purity. The idea of being set apart to be completely devoted to Jesus, now there is a concept. There is an ideology. There is a way of life that answers the question what does it mean to be a disciple. My example is Jesus, my workbook is the bible, my teacher is the Holy Spirit, my life plan is devotion to Christ. Wow! and I didn't even have to write a book... smiles
After taking that step and making that commitment to be a devoted follower of Christ look about you to seek out someone to walk along with you. to mentor them, spend time with them, teach them and let them teach you. God never intended this journey of discipleship to me made alone. When you look at the book of Acts you find mentoring happening all around you. Barnabas did it with Paul and later Mark, then Paul did it with Timothy, and Titus, and many, many others. Peter did it with Luke and later Mark. Paul also mentored Aquilla and Pricilla, who in turn mentored Apollos. the New Testament church was filled with disciples who mentored other believes who mentored yet again. 2 Timothy 2:2 “And the things that you have heard from me among many witnesses, commit these to faithful men who will be able to teach others also.” I have long believed in the 3D concept of discipleship. You are either discipling, being discipled, or disobedient. It’s really not that difficult. you just reach out and take the hand of another and help them walk the path devoted to being like Christ. You pray with them, laugh with them, cry with them, and spend time together. You let another into your life and let them walk with you as you learn. You don't need any special gifts or abilities other than being devoted to becoming like Christ. Everyone can do this! There is no special training or book or gifting or anything. There is just an absolute, devoted commitment to becoming like Christ and the willingness to walk with someone on this journey and help them walk with someone else on this journey, etc. Oh there are books by very good authors that help us catch the vision and some that help us with a way or a path to follow and I recommend you read some as long as it does not stop you from being devoted to being like Christ and helping someone else on that same journey.
The key to discipleship is not studying about it, but living it out with others. Discipleship can begin at any point in a Christians walk, but it ought to begin from the moment of salvation. When was the last time you said to someone..."Are you ready to make a commit your life to Christ" Mostly we hear or say: "Would you like to receive or accept Jesus into your heart" I think we do a disservice to the new believer by stopping at salvation we ought to invite them to make a commitment to Christ and help them start their journey of discipleship. When you follow this roadmap you quickly discover that you are discipling and being discipled. Glory to God let's get this thing going......