A lot of people want to be a disciple of Christ. That is why many sign up for churches’ ministries. However, being part of a Christian ministry is not enough for you to be called a disciple. In fact, even Jesus said that not everyone who calls Him “Lord” is really His follower.
“Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven.” (Matthew 7:21)
So, how will you know you are truly a disciple of Christ? Here are some of the characteristics you must possess:
Surrendered to Christ
1. Trusted Christ as Savior
You cannot be Christ’s follower without trusting Him as your Savior first. It means that you have to accept that you are a sinner, and you cannot save yourself from eternal damnation. That is why you humbly accept God’s free gift of salvation through Jesus.
“Jesus is ‘the stone you builders rejected, which has become the cornerstone.’ Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to mankind by which we must be saved.” (Acts 4:11-12)
2. Made Him Lord
Of course, you cannot simply enjoy the privileges of being saved. Since it was Jesus who died on the cross to pay for your sins, you should surrender your life to Him. Remember that He bought you with a huge price—His life—so you should make Him your Lord or Master.
“For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Romans 6:23)
3. Decided to Follow Jesus
Making Jesus Christ your master means you will no longer be the boss of yourself. All areas of your life and all decisions you make must be in accordance with God’s will. This is how you take up your cross.
“Then Jesus told his disciples, ‘If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me.’” (Matthew 16:24)
4. Pursuing Christlikeness
Following Christ means you must be like Him. You are called to be His imitator. It means that your character must reflect Christ’s. If you want to know more about how He lived on earth, you should study the Bible seriously.
“For those whom He foreknew, He also predestined to become conformed to the image of His Son, so that He would be the firstborn among many brethren;” (Romans 8:29)
5. Living for God
A true disciple of Christ lives for God. Whether you live or die, it will be for Him alone. Your utmost goal is to live for the Lord’s glory.
“For if we live, we live to the Lord, and if we die, we die to the Lord. So then, whether we live or whether we die, we are the Lord’s.” (Romans 14:8)
Knowing God’s Will
6. Understands a Disciple’s Mission
Being a disciple of Jesus means you take part in the Great Commission. All His followers are called to share the gospel and disciple others to do the same.
“Then Jesus came to them and said, ‘All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.’” (Matthew 28:18-20)
7. Studies God’s Word
You cannot be a good Christian disciple if you are not knowledgeable of God’s Word. Therefore, take studying the Bible seriously. Aside from having regular Bible reading time, followers are encouraged to enroll in Bible or theology classes to become experts in the Scriptures.
“All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be competent, equipped for every good work.” (2 Timothy 3:16-17)
8. Submits Self to Discipleship
Moreover, a true disciple is a good student. They submit themselves to the authority of a mentor, discipleship leader, or pastor who will teach them how to become an effective servant of God. Being a disciple means you are teachable and humble.
“He is the one we proclaim, admonishing and teaching everyone with all wisdom, so that we may present everyone fully mature in Christ. To this end I strenuously contend with all the energy Christ so powerfully works in me.” (Colossians 1:28-29)
9. Learning to be a Good Follower
In addition to no. 8, a good disciple has a servant’s heart, which is characteristic of a good follower. They should follow the steps of Jesus, who demonstrated humility by washing His disciples’ feet. According to Him, anyone who wants to follow Him must serve instead of demanding to be served.
“Jesus called them together and said, ‘You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their high officials exercise authority over them. Not so with you. Instead, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first must be your slave—just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.’” (Matthew 20:25-28)
Heading God’s Call
10. Using Spiritual Gifts to Serve
Everyone who has trusted Jesus to be their Lord and Savior receives spiritual gifts through the power of the Holy Spirit. However, only the true and committed disciples of Christ use them to edify the church. They use their gifts in the ministries they are part of.
“There are different kinds of gifts, but the same Spirit distributes them. There are different kinds of service, but the same Lord. There are different kinds of working, but in all of them and in everyone it is the same God at work. Now to each one the manifestation of the Spirit is given for the common good.” (1 Corinthians 12: 4-7)
11. Loving Other Disciples
Jesus said that one of the evident marks of His disciples is their love for one another. No matter what their differences are, they set them aside to be united for Christ. Of course, their love extends to other people, even unbelievers. Christ commanded His followers to love even their enemies.
“By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.” (John 13:35)
12. Not Ashamed of the Gospel
Being Christ’s disciple is not easy, especially in this generation since persecution is becoming more rampant. Many Christians are bashed for not standing with the world or conforming to its ways. However, a true disciple will be courageous to stand for their faith. They will not be ashamed or afraid to proclaim the gospel and God’s Word.
“For I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God that brings salvation to everyone who believes: first to the Jew, then to the Gentile.” (Romans 1:16)
Are You a True Disciple?
Evaluate yourself now. Can you say that you are truly a disciple of Jesus Christ? If most of these characteristics are not evident in your life yet but you are eager to follow Him, it is not too late. Seek God earnestly by praying with all your heart to help you surrender your life to Christ.
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