Growth in Christian Discipleship
May 14, 2021 · Courtney Jacob
Do you desire a strong faith? Do you want to follow Jesus well? Then you’d be well-served to focus on your life of discipleship. During Jesus’ day, disciples followed their rabbi closely. They lived with him, ate with him, traveled with him. In our Groundwork series, “Growth in Christian Discipleship,” we’ll explore the scriptures to help us better understand what exactly Christian discipleship is and what it means to live as disciples of Jesus Christ today.
What is Discipleship?
Discipleship is the lived experience of intentionally following and learning from a leader or teacher. As Christians, we follow and learn from Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord. To be a Christian disciple is to daily choose to learn from Jesus Christ, to follow his teaching, and to spend time with him—all with the goal of becoming like him.
While salvation is life-changing, discipleship is the way we grow into that changed life more fully. Through discipleship, our faith in Jesus begins to permeate all areas of our lives. As disciples of Christ, there’s no separating our spiritual life from our work life or our social life. Discipleship is all-encompassing, ongoing, and lifelong.
A Life of Discipleship
What does a life of discipleship look like today? Jesus may not be physically present with us, like he was with the twelve disciples in the first century, but he is with us. Jesus himself tells us that he will always be with us in Matthew 28:2. In John 14:15-31, he sends us the Holy Spirit to teach and guide us. And today, it is through this Spirit that we are able to cultivate our relationship with Jesus Christ through reading scripture, prayer, worship, and practicing spiritual disciplines.
Intentionally spending time in God’s Word and in prayer and worship grows our faith and helps us mature in our spiritual life. However, it’s important to remember that spiritual maturity doesn’t always look like we might expect it to. We don’t mature spiritually the same way we mature with age. It’s certainly a journey, but we should be cautious about simply thinking about discipleship in a linear fashion.
When we think about life linearly, we expect that we will just get smarter, better, more mature as Christians. In reality, discipleship doesn’t always work that way. Sometimes we discover new meaning in our faith. Sometimes we make mistakes or encounter a challenge that sets us back. Other times tragedies and difficulties in life confront us and lead to questions we can’t yet answer. During these times it can feel like our faith is weak or fragile, but studying scripture and the biblical journey of discipleship helps us understand that detours and roadblocks along the way are normal. Knowing that God is with us in our trials, questions, and doubts though, can help us prevent these experiences from shattering our faith.
So let’s talk intentionally about what we can expect from the life of discipleship. I invite you to dig into scripture with Groundwork through our “Growth in Christian Discipleship” series to learn what discipleship is and what this looks like for us to be disciples today”:
- Be a Disciple of Jesus Christ - 1 Timothy 4:7-8, 1 Peter 2:2-5, and 1 Timothy 2:1-3
- Grow as a Disciple of Jesus Christ - Ephesians 4:7-15, Colossians 2:6-22, and Hebrews 6:1-12
- When Discipleship Growth Stalls - Acts 10:34-48, Galatians 2:11-16, James 1:22-27, 1 John 1:8-10, and Philippians 3:12-14
- Discipleship During Life's Tragedies - Job 1:13-22, Psalm 56:8, 1 Peter 5:7, and Job 42:10-11
...and together we’ll grow deeper and stronger in our faith in Jesus Christ.