The Life of a Disciple
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A disciple walks with Jesus, follows Jesus, and lives with Jesus! This is the difference between casual Christianity and discipleship.—David Brandt Berg
These things that I once considered valuable, I now consider worthless for Christ. It’s far more than that! I consider everything else worthless because I’m much better off knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. It’s because of him that I think of everything as worthless. I threw it all away in order to gain Christand to have a relationship with him. …
I have God’s approval through faith in Christ. This is the approval that comes from God and is based on faith that knows Christ. Faith knows the power that his coming back to life gives and what it means to share his suffering. In this way I’m becoming like him in his death, with the confidence that I’ll come back to life from the dead.
It’s not that I’ve already reached the goal or have already completed the course. But I run to win that which Jesus Christ has already won for me. Brothers and sisters, I can’t consider myself a winner yet. This is what I do: I don’t look back, I lengthen my stride, and I run straight toward the goal to win the prize that God’s heavenly call offers in Christ Jesus.—Philippians 3:7–141
A disciple is a mind through which Christ thinks. A disciple is a heart through which Christ loves. A disciple is a voice through which Christ speaks. A disciple is a hand through which Christ helps.
Make no mistake, a disciple is a servant. A disciple is not the teacher, he’s the learner. A disciple is not the leader, he’s the follower. A disciple is not the center of attention, he’s the one serving in the background. Jesus is our teacher, our leader, the center of our attention. A disciple is a servant called by God to carry the cross of Christ by living for Jesus in this world.
Living for Jesus is not just a Sunday job. Living for Jesus goes on 24 hours per day, 7 days per week, 365 days per year. There are no days off from discipleship. There is no time when a disciple has “done his share.” Living for Jesus never ends and it supersedes every other function in life—because living for Jesus is life.
We never know what living for Jesus is going to be. Living for Jesus may be “business as usual” today—sacrifice and suffering tomorrow. A disciple remains faithful through good times and bad. A disciple takes the lowliest job just as joyfully as the high-profile job. A disciple is just as happy doing what only God sees as he is doing what everyone sees. The logo for the Baptist Missionary Union makes this point very well. It pictures a bull standing between a plow and an altar. The caption reads, “Ready for Either.”—Pastor John Straub2
Discipleship is not only a willingness to forsake your belongings or your ministry or your job, but it is a forsaking of self and pride. Lay these down before Me and come with nothing in your hands. I will hold you and I will not let you fall. I will take you up into My arms and I will reward you many times over for this sacrifice and your yieldedness to Me. It will not be a loss, but rather you will gain and flourish and reflect the tenderness of My Spirit upon others.
Others will find comfort in the comfort that you have found. You cannot see it now, but through your yieldedness and forsaking of your own ways and thoughts I will shape you into a vessel used by Me and most dearly cherished by others. So hold fast that which thou hast, that no man take your crown. Know that I will not fail you, but I will fulfill My promises unto you. Fear not, only believe, and accept My words of love. Not one thing that I have promised will fail.—Jesus, speaking in prophecy
You are to be a living ensample of the truth. You preach it in the greatest way by living it.3 It's true that when it comes to the final showdown that only the miracle-working power of the Holy Spirit of God Himself can really do the job of winning their hearts—but they need to see Him living in us. They need to see this miracle-working power at work in our lives, as a genuine living sample and proof that Jesus is real.
Jesus not only preached His message, but He lived it! He was not only the living Word, the sermon, but He was also the living work, the sample. For He said He had not only “spoken unto them,” but He also had “done the works that none other man did.”4
Witnessing His wonder-working words to the world is our main task, and our main motive should be to obey God and get the message out. But remember, the sample sells the sales talk. You are the product and proof that it works! So, “Let your light so shine before men that they may see your good work, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.”5
It starts with a spiritual revolution that absolutely rends your heart right out completely and gives you a new spirit, the Holy Ghost of God. “A new heart also will I give and a new spirit will I put within you.”6
When Jesus went about saying, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand,”7 He was saying, “Revolt, revolute, have a revolution!” The biblical word “repent” comes from the Greek word “metanoia,” which means a complete change of mind or a total turning around and going in the opposite direction—or to “revolute”—so repentance is a revolution. It means to change your direction—change everything.
Change your way of living, not just your so-called heart, but your whole life and the way you live and the way you work. That's the call of discipleship! That's what Jesus preached.—David Brandt Berg8
However we may understand the details, there can be no doubt, on the biblical picture of human life, that we were meant to be inhabited by God and to live by a power beyond ourselves. … Only constant students of Jesus will be given adequate power to fulfill their calling to be God’s person for their time and their place in this world. They are the only ones who develop the character which makes it safe to have such power. ...
The mission naturally flows from the life. It is not an afterthought or something we might overlook or omit as we live the life. The eternal life, from which many profound and glorious effects flow, is interactive relationship with God and His special son, Jesus, within the abiding ambience of the Holy Spirit. Eternal life is the Kingdom Walk, where, in seamless unity we “Do love, justice, kindness, and walk carefully with our God.”9 We learn to walk this way through apprenticeship to Jesus. His school is always in session.—Dallas Willard
Published on Anchor September 2013. Read by Gabriel Garcia Valdivieso.
Music by Michael Dooley.
3 John 14:8–9.
4 John 15:22,24.
5 Matthew 5:16.
6 Ezekiel 36:26.
7 Matthew 4:17.
8 Originally published in September 1974.
9 Micah 6:8.