Life is growth. When a child is not growing, we know immediately something is wrong. Growth is not optional, but essential (Gal. 4:19; Eph. 4:15).
We talk about discipleship, but how closely does our discipleship process model that which we discover in the Gospels and Epistles?
Discipleship is a lifelong process of growing in Christ-likeness. It begins when we are born again and continues until we die. Lots of ups and downs, starts and stops, detours and occasionally, pinpoint accuracy. We tend to think that growing in Christ primarily involves intellectual ascent. However, although learning is essential and knowledge is required that’s only a part of the process. Learning and knowledge must lead to new character and conduct reflective of Jesus. Moreover, it is only through the transforming power by the Holy Spirit and our obedience that disciples can truly enjoy abundant life (John 10:10).
So, if current research as reported by Barna is even remotely accurate, why are there so few New Testament-like disciples? I believe it is because we do not decide to be Jesus’ disciples.
What Jesus desires is that we be transformed into “the measure of the full stature of Christ” (Eph. 4:13).
How do we begin? Ask. We must ask Jesus to become more like Him, to see Him more clearly, to see as He sees, to feel as He feels, to have His heart in all matters of life.
There cannot be a disciple without a decision and there cannot be a disciple without discipline. We are born-again in an instant, but discipleship takes a lifetime. It begins with a decision. The disciple’s hymn becomes, “I have decided to follow Jesus, no turning back, no turning back.”
The cost of discipleship is great, but the opportunity is greater still.