What is a Disciple? – Part III: Is Comitted to Becoming Like Him
By Dave Kroeze, Director of Outreach at MBCLoudoun
“A disciple is a follower of Jesus Christ who lives in biblical community and is committed to becoming like Him by obeying Him, serving Him and sharing Him.” – MBC’s definition of a disciple.
The last major component of MBC’s Discipleship definition is that a disciple is “committed to becoming like Him.” There are three ways that you can do that, which will be discussed in future entries, but I really want to focus on being committed to something. If I look at different areas of my life, there are very few things I am committed to. I am committed to my wife, but we’ve been married for 2.5 years, so I am hardly an expert on that. I have, though, been a committed Chicago Cubs fan since I was old enough to love baseball. My commitment runs deep, to say the least. When I was in 1st grade, my dad bought tickets to a White Sox game for my brothers and me. It hardly went over well. I was so angry that I would have to go to a White Sox game that I threw the tantrum of all temper tantrums until I was left behind at home with my mom. This was a calculated act of my volition and not merely a random action that held no bearing. I was committed to Chicago Cubs baseball.
I have never been confronted with what “commitment” looks like for the Christian until recently. In late April, I returned from a 10-day trip to India. I witnessed and heard some heartbreaking things that Christians are forced to endure for the sake of Christ. When an individual desires to leave Hinduism and follow Christ, there is a process that generally takes place. There is an application process to the government that can be accepted or denied. In the event this particular application is accepted, then you receive a new birth certificate relegating this individual to the “dalit” caste – untouchable. This may not mean much on the surface, but to them this means that you lose your family, you lose your wealth, your ability to go certain colleges, your ability to work, your community, and your identity. You see, a birth certificate is much more than a piece of paper throughout India. It bears ones entire life in one word or phrase. The caste system largely controls the trajectory of your life.
I say this, not to speak poorly of India as a nation, but to illuminate the commitment that Indian Christians have to following Christ. They understand the cost of following Christ, they understand what is expected of them, and they have committed themselves to that cause.
The last piece of this phrase that I want to talk briefly about is what we should be committed to. We believe that a disciple of Jesus Christ should look like Jesus Christ. Please do not read me saying that you should do your best to look like Jim Caviezel. Our character, behavior, personality traits, and the way that we love people should carry a certain flavor to it that would be consistent with the way that Jesus loves people. I test myself constantly against three passages of Scripture. First is Galatians 5:22-23 where we see the fruits of the spirit. How am I doing today on being joyful? How am I doing today on being kind? How am I doing on self-control? Yikes! Secondly, the armor of God in Ephesians 6. An individual who is being transformed into the image of Christ carries the belt of Truth (God’s Word) because they read God’s Word. A person who is being transformed wears the breastplate of righteousness because he cares about fleeing from evil and sin. The last piece of Scripture I test myself against is the Beatitudes in Matthew 5:3-11. Blessed is…then this passage tends to describe something that is very different from me.
As disciples, it is vital that we commit our lives to becoming like Christ. Commitment demands that we are passionately pursuing or following something. As a disciple, we passionately pursue Christ-likeness in all that we do. As you think about Jesus’ disciples, there are many aspects where they behaved and acted in a manner that is totally different from Christ. But, as they learned, grew, taught other people, and were transformed by the renewing of the mind they began to look more like Jesus Christ.