This week I want to continue and share further the characteristics of a true disciple.
A. A true disciple of Jesus Christ is willing to share his/her faith with others in open and honest fellowship.
In 1 John 1:1-3, we read, “We proclaim to you the One who existed from the beginning, whom we have heard and seen. We saw Him with our own eyes and touched Him with our own hands. He is the Word of life. This One who is life itself was revealed to us, and we have seen Him. And now we testify and proclaim to you that He is the One who is eternal life. He was with the Father, and then He was revealed to us. We proclaim to you what we ourselves have actually seen and heard so that you may have fellowship with us. And our fellowship is with the Father and His Son, Jesus Christ.”
If you are a born-again Christian, you have personally met and had an encounter with Christ. Hopefully, since your conversion, you have been meeting with the LORD daily and have experienced answers to prayer and other ways He has been helping you to grow. Whether you realize it or not, your Lord and Savior has been developing a life story in you. The reason is that He wants you to be able to share firsthand with others, what life with Jesus is like.
B. A true disciple is learning humility. This person doesn’t always have to be the center of attention. He/she rejoices when others are blessed. In Philippians 2:3-4 the Apostle Paul wrote “Don’t be selfish, don’t try to impress others. Be humble, thinking of others as better than yourselves. Don’t look out only for your own interests, but take an interest in others also.”
C. A True disciple of Jesus Christ will examine his/her own heart and life to be sure there isn’t anything that would grieve the Holy Spirit or hinder our fellowship with our LORD and others. In Matthew 7:1-5 we have Jesus sharing —
“Do not judge others, and you will not be judged. For you will be treated as you treat others. The standard you use in judging (others) is the standard by which you will be judged. And why worry about a speck in your friend’s eye when you have a log in your own eye; then you will see well enough to deal with the speck in your friend’s eye.”
What great teaching from the Master Disciple! May we all take it to heart.
D. A true disciple of our LORD JESUS CHRIST knows his own weakness and wants the Lord’s grace to work through those issues. Beloved, listen to what Paul wrote in 2 Corinthians 12:8-9, “Three different times I begged the LORD to take it (the thorn) away. Each time He said, “My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness. So now I am glad to boast about my weakness so that the power of Christ can work through me.” Folks, God’s grace is amazing and adequate, and, available to you.
E. A true disciple is not a perfectionist. He/she knows they have not arrived. There is still room for growth in their own life. He/she does not fall prey to self-righteousness, self-condemnation, self-pity, or a judgmental spirit. The Apostle James is right – 3:2, “Indeed, we all make many mistakes. For if we could control our tongues, we would be perfect and could control ourselves in every other way.” How often do our tongues get us into trouble?
The Apostle John gives us some great insight as well, in 1 John 1:8-10, “If we claim we have no sin, we are only fooling ourselves and not living in the truth. BUT if we confess our sins to Him, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and cleanse us from all wickedness. If we claim we have not sinned, we are calling God a liar and showing that His word has no place in our hearts.”
Life is so much better when we confess our sin(s) and know that God has forgiven us.
F. A true disciple is quick to forgive. In Matthew 18:21-22 we read, “Then Peter came to Him (Jesus) and asked, ‘LORD, how often should I forgive someone who sins against me? Seven times?’” Jesus replied, “No, not seven times, but seventy times seven!” We must continually be ready to forgive. Peter thought he was being really generous when he suggested forgiving someone seven times. After all, the rabbis taught that three times was adequate. So, when Jesus said, “seventy times seven,” it must have overwhelmed Peter. Who could keep track of that many offenses? But that was the point Jesus was making. Paul, in 1 Corinthians 13:5 stated “Love keeps no record of wrongs.” Are you harboring a wounded spirit towards someone? You can’t afford that cancer in your heart. Forgive them. On the cross, in the midst of unbelievable agony, Jesus prayed “Father forgive them for they do not know what they do.”
G. A true disciple is persistent and courageous and not easily discouraged. Look up Ephesians 6:10-18 and read it. Hear the words of Paul in 2 Corinthians 4:8-11.
“We are pressed on every side by troubles, but we are not crushed, perplexed, but not driven to despair. We are hunted down but never abandoned by God. We get knocked down, but we are not destroyed. Through suffering, our bodies continue to share in the death of Jesus so that the life of Jesus may also be seen in our bodies. Yes, we live under constant danger of death because we serve Jesus so that the life of Jesus will be evident in our dying bodies.”
Folks, regardless of our circumstances, we should always be exhibiting or revealing the life of Christ in the way we live.
H. A true disciple is trustworthy and responsible.
In 1 Corinthians 4:2, Paul wrote, “Now, a person who is put in charge as a manager must be faithful” We must live under the Disciple from heaven.
Are you dependable? Can our LORD count on you and me to always represent Him in truth? We do not want anyone to become biased against Jesus by the way we live.
Well folks, there is just enough more that I want to share with you on this subject, that will have to be Part 3. So, I will see you next week.
God bless you,