How to be a Disciple
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Jesus said to the people who believed in him, “You are truly my disciples if you remain faithful
to my teachings. And you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”
- John 8:31-33
If someone asked me if I wanted to watch the movie of my life, I would probably laugh and think first of how cool it would be. I mean, how awesome would it be to relive all the amazing moments that have slipped through my memories?
But then it would hit me: watching a movie of my life would mean not only seeing a glimpse of all the good times, but also all of the bad.
I immediately cringe at the thought. What would those “bad” moments look like? How many mistakes have I made? How many times have I acted in a way that was not Christian-like? Am I even worthy of calling myself a Christian?
The fears race through my head as I second guess my ENTIRE life. Among the racing thoughts, one finally brings me comfort: what about the disciples? The disciples made mistakes, but Jesus still chose them to be loved and equipped to spread the good news of His glory.
Peter, one of Jesus’ first disciples, denied Jesus three times when he was recognized by a servant girl (Luke 22:54-62). Still, Jesus made Peter the rock of His Church (Matthew 16:18).
Thomas, a disciple of Jesus, doubted His Resurrection (John 20:24-29).
Paul the Apostle, originally called Saul, killed believers before being converted and deemed one of the twelve Apostles.
If these disciples reflected on the movies of their lives, they would view themselves making mistakes just as we would in our own movies. The mistakes of the disciples in the Bible did not deem them unworthy of the title “disciple,” and the same goes for us. Our sins and failings do make us unworthy, but we get to trust in His worthiness and that His perfect life and blood cover our sins. Jesus’ perfect sacrifice and our faith in Him allow us to live as His disciples.
Being a disciple does not mean getting it right all the time. Discipleship means actively seeking Jesus, being faithful to His teachings, and proclaiming His teachings to others. We may stumble along the way while taking up our daily crosses (Luke 9:23) just as the disciples in the Bible did.
To take up daily crosses as a disciple means inviting Jesus into even our failure. This way, we may experience the salvation and freedom He gives through His Cross. Making Jesus the center of our hearts and imitating His heart to others is how we live out our calling as His disciples.
When I reflect on the movie of my life, there is a common theme in what I would consider the “bad scenes.” What is so obvious to me now that was never apparent then? If I live authentically as the woman Jesus made me to be and I imitate His heart every day, I will be successful in my discipleship.
1. When looking at the movie of your life, in what “scenes” did you imitate Jesus’ heart? In what scenes did you struggle?
2. What are your daily crosses? How do you invite Jesus into those struggles?
3. How do you draw others to discipleship?
Jesus, Your heart is one so worthy of imitation. I praise You for taking up such a horrible cross so that we may share in Your glory, even when we are imperfect. Be with me, and fill me with Your Spirit as I live my life as a disciple to You. Be in the words I say so that I may bring Your goodness to others. I ask that You help me to accept my struggles, and be with me in taking up my own crosses. Please help me to imitate Your heart all of my days, Amen.
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