DiscipleThis is one of the most misunderstood words in the Bible. It can be said that this is a churchy word but disciple is actually used in the gospels over 200 times. It comes from the Greek word mathetes and simply means "learner" or "follower." - someone who is committed to a master. 1 Timothy 4:7 says "Train yourself to be godly." As a believer in Christ, you are constantly learning from the Lord and the Word about your relationship with Him. The question is, "Is there ever a time where you aren't learning?" No. Being a faithful believer in Christ means you are always being discipled, you are always following Him, and it is changing who you are in Christ.
Bill Hull, who wrote "The Complete Book of Discipleship", says there are three parts of disciple-making:
1. Deliverance: salvation by grace through faith in Jesus Christ followed by baptism. Interesting point that Hull makes is that most churches limit disciple making to Christians and don't focus on sending disciples out to witness to the lost who need Christ. The idea is that evangelism and discipleship have a very strong relationship in working together. You can't have one without the other.
2. Development: developing character and capacity. Matt. 28:20 is the "teaching them to obey" part. Its in our DNA as believers in Christ. One of the issues with many so-called believers is that their capacity is already full. They have had enough Jesus or church in a few weeks or a few months or years to last a lifetime. These are the "dropouts" we find that are disconnected with the church, and eventually disconnected with Jesus. We need the church of Jesus Christ to help with development...to put into practice the "one another's" of the New Testament. To help us when we fall. To help us when we are stumped.
3. Deployment: Interesting that this is the first word of the Great Commission found in Matthew 28:19 - "Go!" Hull writes "deploying the disciple in mission where he lives, works and plays." I love this! We live in a broken world and realizing that we have the message (gospel) that changes lives will help us see the Father's heart to reach out to others. To be on mission constantly.
Which stage are you in? What's stifling your growth? Be the disciple God wants you to be.