Category Archives: Pastor’s Pen
Last month I gave a few thoughts as to what a mature disciple of Jesus Christ should look like in practice. Jesus gave His church the commission to ‘Go and make disciples…’ That is the purpose of the Church—to proclaim the gospel throughout the world and call people to respond in repentance and faith so that they bring glory to God. The process of making disciples involves ‘baptism’ (a public witness that a person has made a commitment to follow Jesus) and ‘instruction’ (teaching people the Word of God). Growing in maturity as a disciple of Jesus is a lifelong process which involves both us and God at work together. As I said last time, “Above all, a disciple is someone who is on a learning journey – committed to becoming more like Jesus in character and action. They have a dedication to developing spiritual practices which assist in facilitating the transforming environment in which the Holy Spirit works. They also have a humble dependence upon the transforming work of the indwelling Spirit of God recognising that ultimately discipleship is a work of grace. In other words, both God and the believer contribute to the discipleship process.”
In my previous Pastor’s Pen I wrote about personal spiritual growth and ‘training ourselves for godliness’ (1 Timothy 4:7). Of course, training ourselves for godliness is part of being a faithful follower of Jesus Christ – a disciple. Over the past couple of months I have been thinking through and discussing with the elders what a disciple is, or what a disciple of Jesus should actually look like in reality. After all, if Jesus gave His church the commission to ‘Go and make disciples’, then shouldn’t we have some idea of what a genuine disciple of Jesus should actually look like? How do we assess whether or not a person is actually a mature disciple of Jesus? What criteria should we actually employ to make such an assessment? Having given much thought to this I put together these thoughts…
A mature disciple of Jesus is someone who…
We seem to be almost bombarded in our society today with ways we can improve ourselves. Whether it be educational courses you can sign up to, products you can use to better your appearance, diets to follow to give you better health, exercise programs to help you lose weight, financial schemes to assist you in maximizing your wealth, etc. We can certainly invest a lot of time, effort and money into things which we trust will benefit us in some way.
In my own Bible reading this week I was challenged by these verses from 1 Timothy 4:6-8, “If you put these things (i.e. teaching the central truths of the Christian faith) before the brothers, you will be a good servant of Christ Jesus, being trained in the words of the faith and of the good doctrine that you have followed. 7 Have nothing to do with irreverent, silly myths. Rather train yourself for godliness; 8 for while bodily training is of some value, godliness is of value in every way, as it holds promise for the present life and also for the life to come.” The words, ‘train yourself for godliness’ really stood out to me.
I asked myself the question, ‘What things am I employing in my life which are helping to train me for godliness’? Obviously, spending time in the Bible is crucial to this, but there are many other ways – e.g. listening to Christian podcasts; reading good books or blogs, meeting regularly with other Christians to encourage each other in the faith, etc. To help me keep myself accountable and son track’ in my faith I find that self-reflection is really important too. It’s important to ask yourself questions about your own personal spiritual development and how it is going. Here are some questions you might find helpful in this process…
#1 – Am I reading my Bible for information or transformation?
#2 – Is there anything in my life that God is consistently bringing to my attention that I am trying to ignore?
#3 – Is there anyone I need to apologize to?
#4 – Is there anyone I need to forgive?
#5 – Is there a sin I need to confess to others and ask for help?
#6 – What evidences do I see in my life that point to me growing in godliness? Above all we need to be praying, asking God to continue His process of making us more like Jesus and to help us to be willing and obedient participants in this.