What Is A Disciple?
Discipleship requires a qualified mentor (disciple-maker; discipler) and at least one disciple. Dr. J. Dwight Pentecost states, “There is a vast difference between being saved and being a disciple. Not all men who are saved are disciples although all who are disciples are saved. In discussing the question of discipleship, we are not dealing with a man’s salvation. We are dealing with a man’s relationship to Jesus Christ, Who is his Teacher, his Master, and his Lord.” Through my years of ministry I have discovered that there are many Christians who do not have the mindset of a disciple. But, what is the mindset of a disciple?
A disciple is a follower and a learner. A disciple has, and must have, a teachable spirit. Unfortunately, there are many Christians who are not willing to follow Christ explicitly, much less follow a mentor. On a few occasions, I have attempted to mentor a few men in areas of their spiritual lives but found that they were not willing to follow me.
Jesus Christ told us to go into all the world and make disciples, but for that to happen, there have to be followers: people who will follow us, learn from us, and grow to be like us, and ultimately like Christ. The apostle Paul is an excellent example of one who made disciples, and on several occasions he told people to follow him (I Cor. 11:1; 4:16; Phil. 3:17; 4:9; I Thess. 1:6).
Here are some things to look for when choosing disciples: 1) A Desire for a Greater Knowledge of God (Ps. 42:1-2; 63:1); 2) A Hunger for God’s Word (John 8:31; Acts 17:11; II Tim. 2:15); 3) A Thirst for Holy Living (Titus 2:12; II Cor. 7:1): characterized by a Hatred for Sin (Col. 3:5-9) and a Love for Righteousness (I Thess. 4:3-4); 4) A Commitment to the Lordship of Christ (Matt. 6:24; II Cor. 5:15): characterized by self-denial (Matt. 8:19-20; 16:14; Luke 14:26, 33) and a surrender to God’s will; 5) A Craving to Be Used of God (Rom. 1:10-11): characterized by availability (Cp. Matt. 9:9 & 19:21-22), faithfulness (II Tim. 2:2), ability to teach (II Tim. 2:2), and a vision for multiplication (Matt. 28:18-20); and 6) A Heart for People (John 13:35; I Thess. 4:9; Heb. 10:25).
“If a man is to be a disciple of Jesus Christ, he must set himself aside totally and completely: to know nothing of himself, to have no will of his own concerning his own life, to have no affection to which he gives his heart.” ― J. Dwight Pentecost