Working definition of a disciple: a person learning from the teachings of Christ and letting Christ’s teachings “reform” his or her life, to such a degree, that he or she naturally lives out those teachings in his or her daily life.
The first principle of being a disciple is to be open, eager, and willing for your life to be transformed and reformed into something new and different. If you think you know it all, or see no reason to make changes, you will be a poor disciple.
Now consider what I call “The end game.” In chess, “end game” refers to the final moves of the game when only a few pieces are left on the board. In business, it means having a strategy in mind for the perpetuation of the business after one retires. In other words, where is all your hard work leading too? As in sports and business, the life of a disciple has an “end game” as well. To find it, we have to look at the Great Commission in Matthew 28: 19 “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”
It’s quite clear that making disciples, which includes teaching the disciple to observe everything the Lord has taught, is what we need to be doing. It’s our “end game.” There comes a point in our own discipleship with Christ that we will be called to disciple others.
It is simply assisting new believers and others to grow in their relationship with Jesus, to become more and more mature in their faith. We see this in many places in the New Testament. In Titus 2:4, older women are to disciple younger women, in II Timothy 2:2, Paul disciples Timothy, who was then to disciple others, who in turn would disciple still others. Even Priscilla and Aquila explained the way of God more accurately to Apollos in Acts 18: 24 – 26. There is no doubt that part of a disciple’s life is to disciple others.
Discipling others may not happen immediately, and probably should not happen when we are still young in our faith journey, but the Great Commission makes it clear that it must eventually happen. It is a part of the discipleship process. It is a part of a mature Christian’s life. If you are young in your faith you now know what the end game is regarding where this will all end up.
If you have been a Christian for a long period of time, but you have never discipled anyone, don’t despair. Remember the Christian life is not about perfection, but about grace and gratitude. In many instances, it’s probably because you were never discipled yourself, and you don’t know where to start. Well, the realization that this needs to be a part of your own maturity in Christ is a wonderful start. Remember what we learned last month: the first principle of being a disciple, is to be open, eager, and willing for your life to be transformed and reformed into something new and different. That principle holds true for all disciples, regardless of how long they have been a disciple.
Look for the next in this series of articles, coming next month, in which we will continue a study on discipleship to help you, whether a young Christian or mature Christian, towards your own personal steps to reach the end game.