“Then said Jesus to those Jews which believed on him, If ye continue in my word, [then] are ye my disciples indeed; And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.” – John 8: 31-32.
From the moment we start school, from kindergarten through college, we are required to memorize information, and then take a test to see just how much of the information we retain. If we pass the tests, then we move on to the next grade and start the process all over again.
We’ve adopted this learning pattern in our Christian walk. We’re trained to learn biblical concepts, principles, and key scripture passages. And the more biblical information we know, the greater disciples we are presumed to be. But is that the key element in discipleship? My answer is no. Knowing the Bible doesn’t give us eternal life; knowing Jesus does. “And this is eternal life, that they know you the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent.” (John 17:3)
Let me say for the record, I have no problem with Biblical education. I went to seminary and I try to learn something new about Jesus every day. My point is if we all that learning does not produce more love for Jesus, myself, and people, then it is a poor investment of my time. If all that learning doesn’t cultivate more love in my heart, then I wouldn’t be a disciple—I’d be nothing more than a Biblical fact sheet. A well-researched fact sheet can’t transform the world; disciples do. I want to be a disciple.
The Apostle Paul says in Philippians 1:9-11 (NLT), “I pray that your love will overflow more and more, and that you will keep on growing in knowledge and understanding. For I want you to understand what really matters, so that you may live pure and blameless lives until the day of Christ’s return. May you always be filled with the fruit of your salvation—the righteous character produced in your life by Jesus Christ —for this will bring much glory and praise to God. The “fruit of your salvation” is the fruit of the Spirit.”
When our minds are fixed on Jesus and we are filled with His love, we become the hands of Jesus by serving people because we love them. But we need to remember this is a long journey. Maturity takes time and is not linear. It would be great if there was instant maturity in faith and in life, but it doesn’t work that way.
Christian maturity has never been about you or me anyway. It is certainly not about how awesome you are compared to others, how smart you are, how righteous you are, or how holy you are. It is all about Jesus.
- What is a disciple? What is a good definition of discipleship?
- What does an mature Christian look like? What does he/she believe, and how does he/she act, especially in his/her relationships?
- What are some obstacles/circumstances to becoming a mature disciple?
- What role do you play in your own discipleship? How do small groups/church play a part in your discipleship journey?
- Read John 17:6-19 (Jesus’ High Priestly prayer to His Father). What do these words tell you?
- If you haven’t done it already, sign up for the discipleship classes at Northstar.