Somehow, somewhere along the line, many Christians have adopted the idea that discipleship is “the next level” designed only for those who want to pursue a vocation in ministry or are just more gung-ho than they are. Many also equate discipleship with merely acquiring knowledge about the Bible. This is most unfortunate!
In fact, the terms “disciple” and “Christian” are synonymous. Luke explains, “The disciples were first called Christians in Antioch.” (Acts 11:26) And here’s another synonym: A disciple is a “follower of Jesus” (see Revelation 17:14).
So, what is a disciple? A disciple is one who follows Jesus. When Jesus chose twelve men to be His disciples, “He appointed twelve that they might be with Him….” (Mark 4:14) We see from this and from Jesus’ entire life with His disciples that discipleship is a highly relational process. The Bible plays a huge role in this process, but discipleship is chiefly relational.
So, back to the original question, what is the goal of discipleship? And by that, I mean what should be our personal goal as a disciple of Jesus and what is our goal as we disciple others?
Can we agree that the goal of discipleship is an ever-deepening relationship with Jesus Christ?
And through this growing relationship with Jesus, we desire to become more and more like Him. Therefore, life transformation is the byproduct of our relationship with Him. This is a lifelong process and requires Christ’s transforming work in our lives. We cannot spend time in His presence and remain unchanged. As we follow Jesus and get to know Him better, we will be on a trajectory of life change.
The change He brings about in our lives, making us more like Him, will also result in significant changes for the better in our relationships with others. This makes total sense because His two great commands are to love God and love others (Matthew 22:37-40). So, our personal discipleship in Christ will result in an ever-deepening relationship with Him and with others.
- Discipleship is not the deluxe tour package
or next level of the Christian life. Either we are following Jesus or we’re
not. It is impossible to be a Christian and not be a disciple or follower of
- Following Jesus always results in a transformed
life. For in His presence, we cannot remain unchanged! Each of us should be
on a trajectory of life change.
- Discipleship is highly relational and focuses on ever-deepening relationships with God and with others. This is hugely important and provides a monumental clue as to how the discipling process occurs in our life.
In my next blog post, I’d like to take this a step further and look at the process of discipleship.