The most basic definition of disciple is a learner. As disciples, we learn as we follow someone who is a few steps ahead of us. Jesus’ twelve disciples learned as they walked with Him. Because I am a disciple of Christ, I learn from the life of Jesus as described in the gospels, and from those who follow Him.
The (if)Equip’s latest study Woven is an in-depth look at discipleship. It’s one of my favorite topics, and they handle it skillfully. Jennie Allen and friends are diving deep into the call, initiative, faithfulness, and results. It is so good, y’all (click here to join us).
Because of Woven, and because making disciples is the one, big instruction Jesus gave us when He left this earth, discipleship is on my mind a lot these days. I want to be more like my teacher, Jesus. As I think about Jesus’ life in the gospels, I find a few things I’d like to learn about living the life of a disciple.
What I Want to Learn about Living the Life of a Disciple
The marginalized didn’t suffer rejection by Jesus. He included Zaccheus the short, Mary the lady of the night, and Matthew the tax collector. He prioritized children. He touched the leper and spoke to the poor. He gave Mary and Martha a place at His table and women a place in building His kingdom. He embodied the civil rights movement, human rights activism, and social justice reform. I want to learn to value every life.
From the first miracle in Canaan, Jesus met the needs of those around Him. He turned water into wine, healed the sick, and fed the hungry. When He encountered someone with a physical need, He met it. Seems simple enough, yet I struggle against my personal agenda, my too-long to-do list, and general selfishness. I want to learn to meet the needs of those around me.
The ultimate example of Jesus’ forgiveness occurred on the cross when He said, “Father forgive them.” Spreading His arms wide to take on the sin of mankind is an unfathomable act of forgiveness–one I’m not sure I will ever learn. But, He also forgave in small ways. He forgave Peter for denying Him. He forgave the woman caught in adultery. He never withheld forgiveness from anyone. I, on the other hand, keep a record of wrongs and store up bitterness. I want to learn to graciously and completely forgive.
Jesus demonstrated compassion when He met physical needs. He also demonstrated compassion on the cross. It’s the compassion on the hill overlooking Israel that moves me. Those who He came to save rejected Him. “‘O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the city that kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to it! How often would I have gathered your children together as a hen gathers her brood under her wings, and you were not willing!'” (Matt. 23:37, ESV). Confrontation or rejection give me hives, so I mostly keep the good news of Jesus to myself. It’s easy to talk about Him with people who agree with me and write off those who disagree or show indifference. I want to learn to weep over the lost.
Intimacy with the Father
Jesus’ relationship with the Father is the pinnacle of a disciple’s journey. He maintained intimacy with God while fasting in the desert, early morning quiet times, and submission to His will. This hand-in-hand walk with the Father helped Jesus include the marginalized, meet needs, forgive, and demonstrate compassion. Everything bloomed from His connection to The Vine. I want to learn to walk hand-in-hand with the Father.
We are disciples. In order to become more like Jesus, we have to walk with Him. Walking with Jesus means walking in His Word–studying and memorizing scripture. In doing so, we will become more like Him.
#FridayFive Link Up
We also learn how to be more like Christ as we spend time with other believers. A link up like this provides a virtual living room, a small group of sorts. We encourage one another on our discipleship journey as we read and comment. Today’s topic: things I want to learn. Share a thought in the comments or link up using the button below.
Next week’s conversation will center around those things that make you smile. This is one of my favorite link ups!