24 Then Jesus said to his disciples, “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. 25 For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will find it. 26 What good will it be for someone to gain the whole world, yet forfeit their soul? Or what can anyone give in exchange for their soul? 27 For the Son of Man is going to come in his Father’s glory with his angels, and then he will reward each person according to what they have done. (Matthew 16:24-27)
If we identify ourselves as a Christian, do we then see ourselves as His disciple? As we dive deeper in our faith and grow our relationship by praying, reading the Bible and spending time with Him…what comes next? Do we keep these truths and God experiences hidden in our hearts or do we go out into this broken world, pick up our cross and show others how to follow Him?
Webster’s Dictionary describes a disciple as “a pupil or follower of any teacher or school of religion, learning, art, etc,” a Christian disciple follows Jesus. A Christian disciple is one who loves God above anyone or anything. A Christian disciple, by God’s grace, becomes more and more like Christ through a life of faith and obedience.
Jesus commanded us in Matthew 28:18-20 18 Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19 Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”
We have heard these verses throughout our Christian walk. But how does this become an action. We understand the command but how do we do it? The vision for our P.A.T.H group was to grow each lady to step out into their own ministry. We all have an individual ministry God has put in each of our hearts. This summer as the group was evolving each lady shared their story, it occurred to me that we had at the very least four different ministries that could change lives. I challenge each of you to pray about where God is leading you and who He will place in your life so you can step into His divine purpose.
Remember, He has equipped each of us to become His disciple. Below are characteristics that outline what a Christian disciple is. Most of the time, we live this out. So, don’t be too hard on yourself. The Holy Spirit will guide you.
Characteristics of a Christian disciple:
- A true disciple of Jesus worships God. If you are a new creation in Christ, you are someone who brings glory to God and recognizes His honor.
- A disciple must be confident in the efficacy of Christ’s death and resurrection for his salvation. He must know that he is a child of God and Christ dwells within him.
- A disciple walks in the fullness and power of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit is responsible for everything that happens in the life of a believer—his new birth, daily walk, understanding of Scripture, prayer, etc. He produces the fruit of the Spirit in us, which enables us to live holy lives and witness for Christ.
- A disciple demonstrates love for God, neighbor, fellow disciples, and enemies. Jesus commands us to love God with every fiber of our being and to love our neighbors as ourselves.
- A disciple is one who knows how to read, study, memorize, and meditate upon the Word of God, to store its truths in his heart. It is impossible to walk in the fullness of God’s Holy Spirit without understanding God’s Word. The reverse is also true: you cannot understand God’s Word without the Holy Spirit.
- A true disciple of Jesus is a man or woman of prayer. Jesus models throughout Scripture that communicating with God is one of the most important things in a Christian’s life. He models that those who are children of God seek the Father.
- A disciple is one who obeys the commands of God in a lifestyle that honors Christ.
- A disciple is one who trusts God and lives a life of faith. Scripture reminds us that, “without faith it is impossible to please God.”
- A disciple understands God’s grace. God loves us unconditionally, whether we obey Him or not. This is the opposite of legalism – a heretic way of thinking that urges us to try to obey God’s laws in our own wisdom, strength, and power.
- A disciple is one who witnesses for Christ as a way of life. If you love Jesus, you are spurred on to tell people about Him, testifying to what He has done in your life.
God gave each of you specific dreams, skills, talents and gifts. They are to be used to increase His kingdom. Our ministries can be on a large scale or a small one. We may start a new P.A.T.H group, support group, volunteer at a homeless shelter, keep the nursery at our church. It is not only up to us to figure out what to do. The beautiful truth is He will show and guide us on His path. Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the LORD your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.” (Deuteronomy 31:6)
14 The farmer sows the word. 15 Some people are like seed along the path, where the word is sown. As soon as they hear it, Satan comes and takes away the word that was sown in them. 16 Others, like seed sown on rocky places, hear the word and at once receive it with joy. 17 But since they have no root, they last only a short time. When trouble or persecution comes because of the word, they quickly fall away. 18 Still others, like seed sown among thorns, hear the word; 19 but the worries of this life, the deceitfulness of wealth and the desires for other things come in and choke the word, making it unfruitful. 20 Others, like seed sown on good soil, hear the word, accept it, and produce a crop—some thirty, some sixty, some a hundred times what was sown.” (Mark 4:14-20)
The goal is simple we walk by faith, communicate our faith, and then multiply our faith. As we go forward, let’s all be prayerful for each other for God to grow our discipleship and reveal our ministries.
Jesus’ Teaching on Prayer
11 One day Jesus was praying in a certain place. When he finished, one of his disciples said to him, “Lord, teach us to pray, just as John taught his disciples.”
2 He said to them, “When you pray, say:
“‘Father, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come. 3 Give us each day our daily bread. 4 Forgive us our sins, for we also forgive everyone who sins against us. And lead us not into temptation.’” 5 Then Jesus said to them, “Suppose you have a friend, and you go to him at midnight and say, ‘Friend, lend me three loaves of bread; 6 a friend of mine on a journey has come to me, and I have no food to offer him.’ 7 And suppose the one inside answers, ‘Don’t bother me. The door is already locked, and my children and I are in bed. I can’t get up and give you anything.’ 8 I tell you, even though he will not get up and give you the bread because of friendship, yet because of your shameless audacity he will surely get up and give you as much as you need. 9 “So I say to you: Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. 10 For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened.
11 “Which of you fathers, if your son asks for a fish, will give him a snake instead? 12 Or if he asks for an egg, will give him a scorpion? 13 If you then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!”