A Disciple…What is it?

03 Nov

I recently came across the thoughts of a guy I respect and I thought I would pass along some of his insight.

I remember being in a Bible study once when the teacher pulled out a book about discipleship and read ten or so characteristics of a disciple. They were things like being holy and devoted and knowledgeable and all that. They sounded nothing like the characteristics of the disciples in the Bible. The author was well meaning, of course, but it’s no doubt tempting to hang a carrot in front of people telling them they have to “become” in order to be used by God rather than admitting they actually “become” while they are in the process of being used by God. It’s an important paradigm shift for all of us because otherwise we’d be too intimidated to take the first step.

Here are some actual characteristics of the disciples I think we can safely trust. If you resonate with any of these, you’re in a good spot and likely following Jesus:

1. You think Jesus wants to take over the government so you cut off a soldiers ear in order to get the fighting started. (The neo cons are definitely disciples!)

2. You keep pestering Jesus about who he will give more power to in heaven.

3. You have no theological training but own a small fishing business which somehow makes you qualified because you “get it.”

4. The Holy Spirit crashes into one of your mini sermons so everybody can speak different languages and outsiders think you’re drunk.

5. People ask you if you know Jesus and you freak out and say no and run away.

6. You hear they killed Jesus on a cross and you figure the whole thing was a wash and you got duped.

7. You choose other disciples by playing rock, paper scissors.

8. You teach bad theology and have to have somebody else come over and correct you.

So there you go. My guess is there’s a place in there for you. So if you’re confused about theology or power hungry or just an average idiot, take the first step. You’ll get sorted out along the way. The disciples “became” some pretty great guys in the end.


Posted by on November 3, 2011 in Reflection


2 responses to “A Disciple…What is it?

  1. samckennon

    November 3, 2011 at 9:35 pm

    This observation regarding the book is right on point with many of the books I have read on discipleship. More of a list you can check than a complete lifestyle transformation. I have never been good at checking the boxes always, get stuck on this or that. Would much rather let the Lord guide my ways though it is important to practice these attributes while we grow in Christ. Thanks Chris….

    Mark 3:16 These are the twelve he appointed: Simon (to whom he gave the name Peter). (NIV)

    Peter was sometimes too outspoken and over enthusiastic causing Jesus to have to correct and refocus him. Peter, confused and scared, after Jesus described his own imminent death, reasoned with Christ about not having to die. In turn Jesus reprimanded Peter referring to him as Satan. When Peter’s faith weakened as he walked on the water towards Christ and he began to sink, calling out for Jesus’ help, Jesus caught him immediately and expressed disapproval of his doubt. Peter refused to allow Jesus to wash his feet until Christ explained the necessity of the act. After Peter understood the reason for this, he asked to have his hands and head washed as well. Once Peter understood his error he immediately recommitted with great enthusiasm. We should not worry about our short comings but instead get up and try again with more faith and commitment like Peter. Pray for wisdom and a listening ear.
    Read these passages:
    Matthew 14:27-31 Mark 8:31-33 John 13:6-9

  2. john

    November 11, 2011 at 8:05 am

    This is the best slice you’ve served up. Love it and it registers since I’ve taught leadership through EQUIP and one of the lessons has the characteristics as the things we become or strive for as opposed to where we are on the journey.


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