What Is Discipleship?

Discipleship is a biblical word that encompasses many aspects of the believers new life in Christ. In it’s simplest form, a disciple is one who follows another and who submits himself or herself to a leader or to a way of life, and discipleship is the process of becoming like Christ in our thoughts and actions.

Biblically, Christians are often referred to as disciples of Jesus Christ. We willingly submit ourselves to His Lordship and to His leadership in our life.

Discipleship is a lifelong process. In many ways, our spiritual maturity is very similar to our physical maturity. We begin life as newborn babes with great dependence on an adult caregiver, and as we grow physically, we become much less independent. Spiritually, we begin our life as a newborn babe, and as we grow we become a mature believer in Jesus Christ.

Ironically, the comparison is reversed, however, when it comes to our dependence and independence. As newborn babes spiritually, we are very much self-centered and independent of the Holy Spirit. As we grow and mature in Christ, we become much more dependent on the leading of the Holy Spirit in our life and much less so upon the self-centered, self-focused person.

If there is one element to discipleship that is worth repeating, it is that biblical discipleship is a life-long process. The picture we will use on this site and throughout our teaching is the image of a tree.

In fact, in Jeremiah 17:5-8, the prophet makes a contrasting comparison between a foolish man who lives according to his own wisdom and a godly, spiritual man who lives his life according to the word of God:

Thus says the Lord: 

“Cursed is the man who trusts in man
and makes flesh his strength,
whose heart turns away from the Lord.
He is like a shrub in the desert,
and shall not see any good come.
He shall dwell in the parched places of the wilderness,
in an uninhabited salt land. 

“Blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord,
whose trust is the Lord.
He is like a tree planted by water,
that sends out its roots by the stream,
and does not fear when heat comes,
for its leaves remain green,
and is not anxious in the year of drought,
for it does not cease to bear fruit.”

In Psalm 1, the psalmist also shows the contrast between one who walks according to his own counsel and one who delights in the Word of God:

Blessed is the man who
walks not in the counsel of the wicked,
nor stands in the way of sinners,
nor sits in the seat of scoffers;
but his delight is in the law of the Lord,
and on his law he meditates day and night. 

He is like a tree planted by streams of water
that yields its fruit in its season,
and its leaf does not wither.
In all that he does, he prospers. 

The wicked are not so,
but are like chaff that the wind drives away.
Therefore the wicked will not
stand in the judgment,
nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous;
for the Lord knows the way of the righteous,
but the way of the wicked will perish.

Beginning the walk of discipleship is the choice you are making between these two contrasting lives. You can choose this day to submit (humble) yourslef to God and to His ways as taught to us in the Word of God, or you can choose to lean on your own understanding and your own wisdom.

It is my prayer, that by landing at this website, you are making the decision to choose life, to choose the way of the master and follow in the footsteps of Jesus. As you begin this journey, may God give you the strength and endurance you need to run the race. At the same time, take comfort in that the Bible promises us that “he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion” (Philippians 3:6).

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