John 15:16, “You didn’t choose me. I chose you. I appointed you to go and produce lasting fruit, so that the Father will give you whatever you ask for, using my name.”
Being a Christian is not all about attending church services, bible studies, and prayer meetings. No, that is not all.
It also has to do with becoming a disciple of Jesus. A disciple according to dictionary.com is: (a) any follower of Christ or (b) a person who is a pupil or an adherent of the doctrines of another.
Believing in Jesus does not make one a disciple. They’re called believers. They all get saved.
There is a reason why the first disciples were only 12. Jesus spent time teaching them and showing them what the Kingdom of God is like. The first disciples got the privilege of being able to ask Jesus questions or make Him expound on the parables He spoke.
The disciple – discipler relationship is a lot different from the pastor – congregation relationship. in an ideal world, a believer should progress to being a disciple. That is not always the case. As the scripture above says, disciples are chosen. They are appointed to go and produce lasting fruit. That lasting fruit usually means the disciple becoming, among others, a discipler himself.
Disciples will also be expected to pursue a ministry of sharing God’s word like being a pastor, teacher or a missionary. This expectation does not always produce the intended result but that is the cost of discipleship.
What is the benefit of being discipled?
For one, through the guidance of a mentor a disciple can have a deeper relationship with Jesus. You get to know Him more in ways that a Sunday-exclusive attender wont be able to experience with the added benefit of having someone guide and mentor you. A disciple will also be “trained” in the Word. He will be better equipped to lead others to Jesus and become a discipler himself.
Part of Jesus’ Great Commission was to “…go and make disciples of all men…” (Matthew 28:19). Christians are not producing enough disciples, believers who can be used in the service of the king. Believers’ faith comes by hearing and hearing the word of God, not just every Sunday. Close discipleship like the one Jesus modelled means believers are nurture to their full potential as Christians.
Imagine what the world would have been like if Jesus did not disciple Peter and company? Maybe we would not be Christians today. Discipleship is the Great Commission. Not just reaching out.