The christian life is a life of discipleship. So the concept of discipling is no foreign to the christendom. In many denominations, christians have their teachers or fathers, each commanding a strong following of devotees, or disciples. Disciples follow their teacher and almost without exception.
In this brief article, I’d like to give a brief definition of biblical discipleship and its implications for us, followed by the importance of discipleship.
What is discipling and its implications?
Discipling simply means to help someone follow Christ.
When the Lord Jesus gave His Great Commission to His disciples, He asked them to
‘make disciples of all nations, baptising them in the name of the Father and of the
Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded
you”. (Matthew 29:19-20a).
Following this order given by Christ Jesus, one will understand that we are all called to be mentors and disciples. When one is in Christ Jesus, he takes it as a rule to train and bring up other disciples by sharing the good news first and then equipping
those who have received salvation through discipleship.
Making disciples (helping others follow Christ) is a prerogative of the church.
Discipling relationships require initiative, teaching, correcting, modelling, and humility. Church member relationships require initiative (implied), teaching, correcting, modelling and humility. This is one of the functions for which the church
exists in the present age. That is not to say that discipling outside the church is wrong, but it is far from the
ideal. When the Lord Jesus gave the Great Commission to His disciples, these disciples were gathered into local churches, where they were able to disciple one another.
The importance of discipleship
- Making disciples is a great way to raise leaders. Jesus did not meet his disciples already trained. They were empty vessels. He had to train and equip them for the work ahead. These disciples in turn also trained other people as
they were commissioned by Jesus to do so (Mark 3:13-14). We also see thecase of Apostle Paul and Timothy. Timothy was Paul’s disciple.
- Discipleship equips us for faithfulness and growth: Discipleship is important because it helps Christ followers to become fully committed. It helps christians to grow in their faith, maturity and wisdom. Since they have someone they are accountable to, believers turn to be disciples and build their faith on a strong foundation. In return, they can discipline and lead others towards Christ.
- Discipleship builts humility : Most of us are tempted to think that we know what is best for ourselves. But scriptures make us understand that knowledge is found in the Word of God. The heart is deceitful and so to trust yourself at all times is probably not the best route to take (Jeremiah 17:9). A wise counsel from a leader or pastor could be just the thing God uses for our security. Proverbs says that a wise man will hear and learn, and will acquire wise counsel (Proverbs 1:5). As such, an unwise believer will not hear from others and so he will lack understanding and wisdom.
Discipleship is a lifetime journey in which we live each day as disciples of Jesus within a community of disciples, the local church. It is a daily process of being transformed into the image of Christ and helping others to do the same. Discipleship is for all and it never ends!