What is the call to Discipleship?
The call to discipleship is defined all throughout the Bible, but one of the most prominent places is found in Luke chapter 14. Luke chapter 14 defines a disciple as someone who is abandoned and surrendered to Christ, someone who has an undivided heart that is wholly dedicated to loving the Lord. The call to discipleship is a call to leave the world behind and follow Jesus. In an ever-increasing secular age, where many churches have accepted sinful practices as sound doctrine, where consumerism has planted its seeds, and where more than half of Christians in America have either read little or none of the Bible, it seems like the understanding of following Jesus is becoming muddier and muddier in the West. So let’s discover what it means to follow Jesus.
Before we dive into the defining factors of a true disciple, let’s first get a basic understanding of what discipleship is and where it came from. Discipleship is a practice that has been implemented since the time of Moses and Elijah, and probably even earlier. At its core, discipleship is mentorship and over time it became a structured system that was grafted into Jewish culture. The word ‘disciple’ is defined as a pupil or student who both adopts the philosophy and ideas of their teacher, as well as spreads them and eventually teaches others the same philosophy. Discipleship was an intimate form of mentorship, students didn’t merely go to a classroom to learn, instead, they did live with their teacher, watching the example that they set forth in both their family life as well as spiritual life.
In Luke 14:25, the Bible says that large crowds were following Jesus and so Jesus turned to them and spoke, explaining what it means to be His disciple.
This form of mentorship was the very model that Jesus demonstrated when He entered on the scene in the New Testament. This is why it was not peculiar for Peter and Andrew or any of the other disciples, to drop what they were doing to follow Him.
All of this can seem somewhat daunting, some might look at it as a checklist of rules to follow, but the truth is, the life of a true disciple is impossible to live without the empowering of the Holy Spirit. Jesus does not demand us to complete impossible tasks, instead, He seeks hearts completely abandoned to Him. And if you find it difficult to have a heart surrendered to Him all you have to do is ask and He will help you. So how exactly do we know that we fall under the category of a true disciple of Jesus? the following passage from 1 John helps us to better understand.
We know that we have come to know him if we keep his commands. Whoever says, “I know him,” but does not do what he commands is a liar, and the truth is not in that person. But if anyone obeys his word, love for God is truly made complete in them. This is how we know we are in him: Whoever claims to live in him must live as Jesus did. 1 John 2:3-6
Being a disciple is not boring or miserable, though we do and will face many trials we are always strengthened by God, we are never left on our own, nor do we bear our burdens alone. God is “our ever-present help in trouble,” and it is through His mighty love and grace that we are transformed into His likeness and are able to press on towards the goal.