If you’ve chosen to live as a disciple of Jesus, you’ve made the most important decision imaginable. But you may be wondering,
What does it mean to be a disciple?
To put it simply, a disciple of Jesus is someone who has chosen to follow Jesus. That’s the command Jesus gave to those He recruited as His first disciples: “Follow Me.” In Jesus’ culture, religious leaders called rabbis would gather a group of followers called disciples to follow in their footsteps and learn their teachings. In the same way, you will become more and more like Jesus as you purposefully follow Him in the weeks to come. Jesus once said, “Everyone who is fully trained will be like his teacher” (Luke 6:40).
On a deeper level, disciples of Jesus are those learning to base their identities on Jesus Himself. All of us use different labels to describe who we are at the core levels of our hearts. Some think of themselves as athletes or intellectuals. Others think of themselves as professionals, parents, leaders, class clowns, and so on.
Disciples of Jesus set aside those labels and base their identities on Him. For example:
- A disciple of Jesus is a child of God. In the Bible we find these words: “Look at how great a love the Father has given us that we should be called God’s children. And we are!” (I John 3:11). We are God’s children. He loves us as our perfect Father.
- A disciple of Jesus is an alien in this world. Disciples of Jesus are aliens, or outsiders, in their own cultures. Because of this identity, Jesus’ disciples abstain from actions and activities that are contrary to Him. Peter, one of Jesus’ original disciples, wrote these words: “Dear friends, I urge you as strangers and temporary residents to abstain from fleshly desires that war against you.” (I Peter 2: 11).
A disciple of Jesus is an ambassador for Christ. Another of Jesus’ disciples recorded these words in the Bible: “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away, and look, new things have come. . . . Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, certain that God is appealing through us. We plead on Christ’s behalf, ‘Be reconciled to God.’” (2 Cor. 5: 17, 20). Ambassadors represent their king and country in a different culture for a specified period of time. Because we have been transformed by Jesus and are now His disciples and ambassadors, we represent Him to the world through our actions and by telling others about Him.
The journey you are about to take is one that will transform you more and more to be like Jesus. Enjoy! No one ever loved and cared for people more passionately than Jesus. No one was ever more sincere in His concern for others than Jesus. And no one ever gave more so that we could experience His love than Jesus did on the cross.
As you grow to be more like Jesus, you’ll find that your relationships are stronger, you have more inner peace than ever before, and you look forward to the future as never before.
That’s the blessing of living as a disciple of Jesus.