Are people coming to faith in Christ around you? Do you know God-seekers who want to explore Christianity with an open mind? Are there other believers in your faith community who need to grow deeper in their relationship with God? If you answered “yes” to one or more of these questions, you have a unique opportunity to disciple others. When someone puts his or her faith in Christ, they experience a new birth. As such, he or she is like a child in the spiritual sense.
Discipleship is simply teaching one of these spiritual children how to walk his or her new faith in everyday life and how to nourish that spirit with rich spiritual food. It is the relational process of helping a believer become a disciple – a faithful follower of Christ.
Ready to Be Discipled
The Christian walk is a life of constant transformation. In order to grow in our faith, we have to be willing to change. The four characteristics below are essential for a follower of Jesus to grow into full maturity. Every disciple needs to be:
Hungry. A true disciple of Jesus will hunger for God’s presence. They will look for opportunities to experience God and be in fellowship with Him. Seekers and new believers often hunger for more of God. As their understanding grows, the desire to continually experience God’s presence and intimate fellowship with Him only increases in a true disciple’s heart.
Available. God wants to bless and use those who are available to Him. From the early stages, disciples need to open their hearts to God’s calling. Availability requires faith and a willingness to go where God sends. It may be tentative at first, but in time, the new disciple’s faith will strengthen as he or she takes steps in the direction of God’s purpose and will.
Faithful. God is looking for those who will be faithful followers. Paul instructs Timothy to entrust the message to those who are reliable and faithful. Faithfulness doesn’t mean perfection, but it does require the new Christ-follower be willing to let God be the leader of his or her life. A faithful disciple desires to walk sincerely with God in the discipleship process.
Teachable. In Matthew 13, Jesus compares those who hear God’s Word to different types of soil. The teachable person is compared to fertile soil, where the seed of God’s Word grows and bears fruit. Investing in a person who is teachable is a rewarding endeavor.
Of course, the goal is not to find perfect disciples. It is through the process that they will grow. These are attitudes. Every seeker or new-born Christian has the seeds of these traits in them and a desire to experience the deeper things of our faith. God is looking for those seeds—humility, eager acceptance of God’s Word, and a teachable spirit.
Now, most of those reading this blog have already experienced the joy of trusting Christ for their salvation, but perhaps someone might read these thoughts, for whom Christ is not more than the “founder of Christianity.” If you don’t yet have a personal and vital relationship with God through the person of Jesus and find yourself wondering what all of this is about, please leave a note on the comments section, and let’s start a conversation about Jesus and the Christian faith.