A Simple Guide to Discipleship
All Christians are disciples of Jesus (Matthew 28:18-20; John 8:31-32), and we're all responsible for our own discipleship (John 6:66-69; Luke 14:25-33). But we're definitely not alone in that. Local churches give us the opportunity to build up the body of Christ in our mutual discipleship to Jesus (Ephesians 4:11-13; 1 Corinthians 12:20-34). Here is a simple guide to get you started.
What is discipleship?
Simply put, a disciple is an apprentice and a follower of Jesus.
In broader terms, being a disciple of Jesus is a life-long daily process of:
following (Matthew 4:19; Matthew 10:32-39; Matthew 16:24-28; John 8:12; John 10:27-30; John 12:24-26), listening (2 Timothy 3:16-17; John 14:9-14; John 1:14-17; John 10:7-16, 25-30), imitation (1 Corinthians 11:1-2; Hebrews 13:7-8; Ephesians 5:1-2), obedience (John 14:15; John 15:14; 1 John 5:1-5; 2 Corinthians 10:3-7), transformation (Romans 12:2; 1 Peter 1:3-5; 2 Timothy 3:16-18; 2 Corinthians 3:18), sanctification (2 Thessalonians 2:13; Romans 6:19; 1 Corinthians 1:30-31; 1 Thessalonians 4:3-5; 1 Thessalonians 5:23; 1 Timothy 2:15; Hebrews 12:14; 1 Peter 1:1-2; John 17:17; 2 Timothy 2:21; Galatians 2:20), and application (James 1:22-27; 2 Timothy 3:10-17; James 2:14-20; Matthew 7:21-27; Luke 8:21; John 13:17).
That can seem overwhelming, but it's really not. It's all cumulative. It'll add up over time as God, in all of His faithfulness, completes a good work in us (Philippians 1:6). All it takes is dedication and commitment on our part. There are basically two settings where this growth will take place:
1. You own private spiritual practices (prayer, fasting, bible study, stewardship, service, disciple making).
2. Church activity (prayer, worship, fellowship, breaking bread, dedication to scripture, equipping for work of ministry).
How do I become/make a disciple of Jesus?
Matthew 7:7-8 (NET Bible)
Ask, and it will be given to you. Seek, and you will find. Knock, and the door will be opened to you. 8 For everyone who asks receives, and the one who seeks finds, and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened.
1 John 5:14-15 (CSB)
This is the confidence we have before him: If we ask anything according to his will, he hears us. 15 And if we know that he hears whatever we ask, we know that we have what we have asked of him.
Pray that they...
...believe in Jesus (Acts 16:14, 31; Ephesians 2:8-9; John 1:9-13; John 3:16-21).
...experience conviction (Acts 2:37; 2 Corinthians 7:9-10).
...repent of sin (2 Timothy 2:25-26; 2 Corinthians 4:4).
...become a disciple (Matthew 28:18-20; Acts 2:38; John 8:31-32; John 14:15-17).
Pray that you...
...glorify God (Matthew 5:16; Psalm 50:23; 2 Corinthians 3:7-12).
...have the courage to tell them (Romans 10:14; Ephesians 6:18-19).
...be discerning (Matthew 10:16).
...persist in prayer (Colossians 4:2; Luke 18:1-8).
Seek (Anticipating and Seeking Out Opportunity):
Mark 11:24 (CSB)
Therefore I tell you, everything you pray and ask for—believe that you have received it and it will be yours.
Colossians 4:2 (CSB)
Devote yourselves to prayer; stay alert in it with thanksgiving.
Pray that you...
...trust in God’s faithfulness (1 Corinthians 1:9; Deuteronomy 7:9,Isaiah 49:7,2 Corinthians 1:18-20).
...trust in God’s sovereignty (Psalm 115:3; Psalm 135:6,Daniel 4:35; Romans 8:28).
Knock (Obedience to Jesus and Acting on Opportunity):
James 2:18 (CSB)
But someone will say, “You have faith, and I have works.” Show me your faith without works, and I will show you faith by my works.
Pray that you...
...be a good steward of the gospel for others (Matthew 25:14-30).
...remember the importance of your responsibility (1 Corinthians 15:3-8)
...faithfully plant or water the seed (1 Corinthians 3:5-11).
How do I continue to mature as a disciple?
Our Father in Heaven,
(Stewardship of the Gospel)
Convict us, Lord, with a personal responsibility as disciples of Jesus to steward Your grace that was given to us for others (Ephesians 3:2; 4:7; Matthew 28:18-20); that the gospel we have received we pass on to others as of first importance (1 Corinthians 15:3), making disciples of those who accept our message (Acts 2:37-41).