Christian Discipleship

Part Two

Part One
Part Two
Part Three
Part Four
Part Five



So from the practical aspect of Christian living - what is discipleship? In reality, it is very simply the process of becoming a disciple of Jesus Christ. It is the lifelong developing process of living more and more in a manner that portrays the very life of Jesus Christ in us and displayed in every aspect of our lives.  

Why is discipleship an important part of any Christian’s life, and the spiritual life of our congregations? There are four primary answers to this question. This list is not an exhaustive list, nor an all-inclusive one. But these four points do give us the primary categorization for the collection of reasons that explain the importance of Christian discipleship.

1). Discipleship keeps the focus on Jesus Christ! As discipleship takes place in the life of individual Christians and specific Christian communities, everything should ideally be focused on Jesus Christ and His Kingdom, (His rule and authority) in their lives. Jesus is our King. Jesus is not an elected official that we have decided fits into our lifestyle.

Jesus himself said that we should seek to serve in His Kingdom first and everything else would fall into place. (Reference Matthew 6:33) Jesus Christ is not a spiritual “Santa Claus” that gives us everything we want – especially if we have been “good little Christians”. While Jesus Christ is indeed our closest friend, we must recognize His sovereign authority in our lives - if we are to be productive servants in His Kingdom.

As disciples we are not called to change the world socially, politically or culturally. We are called to keep Jesus in the central focus of our lives. If we do that, our world will be changed by Him – not us. The first and second century Roman Empire is the obvious example of this. We would not be here today had those early believers not kept Jesus Christ as the central focus of everything they said and did.          

2). Discipleship stimulates Christ-like living! Good discipleship is infectious. To become more like Jesus Christ is to see greater potentials as His Holy Spirit controls and empowers us each and every day and in many different ways. When we see our brothers and sisters in the Christian faith portraying the attributes of Jesus Christ, it encourages us that it is possible for us as Christians experiencing active discipleship, to know better how to act and react in the world around us.

When we as Christians living out these mortal lives reflect the principals of Biblically based Christian living, we will appear less and less like the world around us. Peter makes this issue integral to the Christian’s life of effective discipleship in his first epistle. “Beloved, I urge you as aliens and strangers to abstain from fleshly lusts, which wage war against the soul. Keep your behavior excellent among the Gentiles, so that in the thing in which they slander you as evildoers, they may on account of your good deeds, as they observe them, glorify God in the day of visitation.” (1 Peter 2:11-12) It is interesting that Peter emphasizes that we are strangers in the world. This is actually the reason we don’t have to live like the world does. It is when we are uniquely different in our life styles, priorities and motivations that the world around us can recognize that we are people who know the one true living God.  

3). Discipleship produces harmony in our relationships! Discipleship is an interactive process, and so when Christians are “making disciples” of one another effectively, they grow together in purpose or a sense of emphasis for serving in God’s Kingdom. They will also grow in doctrine, which means they are growing in the understanding of the Scriptures and the applications of God’s Word in daily living. And finally, they will be growing together in the unity of their Christian world views. A world view is simply how one perceives the world around them. As Christians, we view the world through the filer of the Holy Scriptures and the life of Jesus Christ. We are not ever called to determine the word around us through man made institutions such as CNN, MSNBC or FOX. This produces a harmony of efforts that enhances our relationships as fellow followers in Christ in very positive and productive ways.

4). Discipleship identifies necessary boundaries. Because we are fellow believers in Jesus Christ involved in the responsibilities of discipleship, we are knit together closer together in our relationships. Thus, because of our love for each other as fellow believers in Jesus, we should naturally become more careful in the processes of eliminating problematic issues and blatant offences. No one involved in loving relationship would ever want to destroy those involved in that same relationship.

This is true because our lives are focused around the life of Jesus Christ and not our own dreams, desires and preferences. That paradigm produces a higher level of respect for and protection of each other, as we together become more like Jesus Christ.   

When Biblical based discipleship is consistently being developed within any given Christian community such as a home or a congregation, a higher and purer level of morality will be experienced. When Biblical discipleship is actively being pursued in a group or congregation of sincere Christians there will be a noticeable decline in the incidents of immorality and blatant sinful practice.

This is because we are following Jesus Christ, not the urgings and temptations of the world. Fellow Christians will more easily discern what is right from what is wrong in their activities and what a healthy catalyst in life is from an unhealthy one. They will also know what are safe practices in the various environments of life are, rather than those which are dangerous ones.

These moral boundaries create an obvious difference between a person who is actively pursuing discipleship and one who isn’t. Likewise, these moral boundaries create an obvious difference between a congregation who is actively pursuing Christian discipleship and one that isn’t. These moral boundaries are extremely important examples of the life of Jesus Christ who is living in us.    

Central Institute for Theological Studies
P.O. Box 750491
Dayton, Ohio    45475