What does a ‘mature disciple of Jesus look like?
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…
- Has admitted their need for Jesus Christ as Saviour; who has repented of their sins and made a choice to follow Him
- Has a genuine love for God displayed through a life of faith, of obedience and worship
Demonstrates a willingness to trust God despite the circumstances
Demonstrates a desire and willingness to obey what God’s Word says regardless of what others think or what it may cost
Endeavours to learn more about God and what it means to follow Him
Seeks to love God above all else
Demonstrates a commitment to personal spiritual growth and to prayer
- Has a genuine desire to love his/her neighbour
Demonstrates kindness, compassion, grace, forgiveness, humility, generosity, etc. – even to those who are enemies
Uses their resources and abilities in order to bless others
Demonstrates a commitment to regularly fellowshipping with the people of God in order to encourage one another in the faith
Looks for ways to spur other believers on to faith and good works
Is committed to fostering the unity of the Body of Christ
- Has a commitment to reproducing disciples
Is actively involved in regularly sharing their faith and presenting the gospel to those who don’t know Jesus
Seeks to intentionally mentor other people in becoming mature disciples of Jesus Christ
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.
Hopefully this is some food for thought and perhaps the basis for some fruitful conversations. Next time we will look at the 4 stages of discipleship.