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A True Disciple of the Lord

The Foundation

A fine article on the basics of what it means to be a TRUE
disciple of the Lord. Taken from the December 2007 "Thy Kingdom
Come" - a publication of the Association of the Covenant People,
Vancouver, B.C. Canada - Keith Hunt


A TRUE DISCIPLE

by Nell Stevenson



     What would you say if you were asked the question "Are you a
true disciple of Jesus Christ?" That is what I asked myself
recently. I reflected a moment and answered. "I am a true
Israelite and a Christian; so, yes, I must be a true disciple of
Jesus Christ." But, for several days during my prayer time the
thought kept recurring to the point that I felt it was time to
consider this matter more seriously, that is, "Am I really a true
disciple of Jesus Christ?"
     On looking up the word disciple I read: "one who accepts the
doctrine or teaching of an other" I am happy that according to
this definition I qualify and so, can dismiss the fleeting
thought that this may not be the criterion that satisfies Christ.
     Almost immediately, I became aware of the link between
disciple and discipline, which obviously share the same origin. I
looked up the meaning of the word discipline and read, "the
training of the mind and character, a mode of life in accordance
with a certain code of conduct; self-control, order, obedience".
     That makes a lot of sense as it pertains to Christianity,
but discipline isn't popular these days, either in the church or
in the world. Anyone over 50 years of age will agree that
discipline today is not what it used to be in home, school or
church. The standard of Christian behavior has also declined. Are
we guilty of rejecting discipline like the rest of society and
consequently rejecting the standard set by Jesus Christ for his
people? Proverbs 15:32 teaches that "he who ignores discipline
despises himself." Discipline now seems to be thought of as
something quite apart from the daily lifestyle. It may refer to
specific training - yoga, ballet, fencing, violin, or the
military. These all demand strict obedience, order and
self-control in order to learn the proper code of conduct. All
demand hours of rigorous practice and even pain willingly endured
in order to attain the next level of achievement. The need for
such commitment is accepted without question.

     Is anything less acceptable for a disciple of Christ? Am I
doing all I can to "press toward the goal to win the prize for
which God has called me in Christ Jesus"? (Phil.3:14) Am I
dedicated to training my mind and character to follow a mode of
life that is worthy of Christ? We are so willing to discipline
(control, train, punish) ourselves to lose weight, get fit, excel
at a sport or a job! Are we willing to put the same effort into
our life for Christ? Paul says, "Train yourselves to be godly.
Physical training is of some value, but godliness has value for
all things" (1 Tim.4:7,8). 

     We must not neglect the training! How can we go daily into
an ungodly world unprepared to hold up the high standard of Jesus
Christ and be ignorant of the code of conduct He requires? To
learn these lessons it is essential that we spend time daily in
His word. This gives the Holy Spirit the opportunity to train our
mind and character, to teach us the code of conduct and the
obedience necessary for the discipline of the Christian life we
have chosen to follow. Christ's beloved disciple John teaches us
that "whoever claims to live in Him must walk as Jesus did." (1
Jn.2:6) We must learn this from Christ Himself by spending time
in His word, the Bible, so it may "teach, rebuke, correct and
train us in righteousness" (2 Tim. 3:16).

     The initial phase of a new life in Christ is exciting, as
any new endeavor might be. The challenge is to remain steadfast
to the end. Just as a builder does a cost analysis before
erecting a structure to make sure he can complete the project, so
as a believer I must analyze the cost of being Christ's disciple.
Without the discipline I cannot be a disciple.

     In Luke 3:26, Christ's requirement for discipleship is made
very clear. "IF any one comes to me and does not hate his father
and mother, his wife and children, his brothers and sisters -
yes, even his own life - he cannot be my disciple". Part of the
discipline is coming out of the world and its standards, and
adopting Christ's standards. He tells us exactly what is
expected.

"Any of you who does not give up everything he has, cannot be my
disciple." (Lk.3:33) He can help us prioritize and bring balance
into our hectic life. His yoke is easy; His burden is light. What
a relief when we realize that we don't have to run on Satan's
treadmill! Can't we give up some of the general busy-ness we
ourselves have created; the shopping habit, T.V. programs, the
dedication to lessons or sports or internet time? This is a
small cost as a disciple to give Christ absolute priority in our
life.

     In the case of a new believer faith may be weak, but
discipline will re-affirm and build up that faith. A disciple
cannot decide to quit. The term is for life. We may choose to be
a Sunday (or Sabbath - Keith Hunt) Christian, a wishy-washy
disciple in name only, OR we can choose to be a true disciple
acceptable to Him. Christ lays down this condition for His
followers: "IF you continue in my word, THEN are you my disciples
indeed." (Jn.8:31) We must be steadfast in His word until the end
and learn its every lesson; adhere to it without exception until
the end. Then we can honestly say, "your word is a lamp to my
feet and a light for my path". (Ps.119:105) Dependence on the
Word - That is the essential discipline; THEN am I His disciple
indeed.


     The ultimate reward reserved for a true disciple is "that
you will recognize the truth and the truth will set you free."
Jn.8:32) Before His arrest Christ prayed for the disciples,
"Sanctify them by thy truth; thy word is truth." (Jn.17:17) And
so, you and I must continue in the word to let the Spirit of
truth guide us into the truth we need each day to walk as Jesus
walked. He will show truths to you and He will show truths to me;
to each one as needed in our personal experience as we remain in
His word.

     These truths will set us free from guilt and fear, free from
bondage to the things of the world and free to be obedient to
Christ. As we continue to recognize truth from His word it will
impact our daily behaviour. "For the word of God is living and
active, sharper than any double-edged sword. It penetrates even
to dividing of soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the
thoughts and attitudes of the heart" (Heb.4:12).

     Only the word of God can pierce the conscience, break a
stubborn will, cut out a root of bitterness, break a proud and
rebellious spirit so as to transform us into vessels useful to
Almighty God, self-controlled and obedient to Him. The training
will be a lifetime process because there is always more to learn
and as with any discipline it may be painful at times. As we grow
and learn to recognize truth upon truth we will begin to "walk as
Jesus did".

     We will be happy to say with the Psalmist, "I have hidden
your word in my heart that I might not sin against you" (Ps.
119:11). Isn't that what we strive for as followers of Jesus
Christ?

"Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved a
workman who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly divides
the word of truth." (2 Tim.2:15)

                            ..................

NOTE:

That friends/brethren is a short but mighty powerful article on
the very basic of being a true disciple of the Lord. I do not
know where you are on your spiritual road, at the beginning,
around the first bend, half way finished, two more bends to go,
or turning the last bend and heading for home. But the above
teaching from Nell's article will apply, where ever you are on
your journey with Jesus.
Time spent in the Bible, reading it, meditating on it, is going
to be so important, at times very important as you are being led
by the Spirit into more and more truth.

I can remember my early days as God was leading me into truths I
had not known. I had just turned 19 years old. I received the
magazine from the then Radio Church of God, it was the winter of
1961/62. One article was headlined: "Will You Get to Heaven?" I
was somewhat offended by it, as I read it, because it claimed no
human has gone to heaven but Jesus, and no human goes to heaven
at death. I remember throwing it down on the table, being angry,
putting on my cowboy hat and boots and heading for the horse
ranch, where I worked part time. Oh yes I was upset, this was an
article that was contrary to what I had grown up being taught in
all my "going to church" days. But there was this small quiet
voice (not literal per se) saying to me, "Now you are all
emotional, you have not stopped to look up the Scriptures quoted.
What IF the article is correct. You will have ignored the leading
of God's Spirit."
Those thoughts kept coming back to me as I worked at the Ranch
that day. Finally I said, "Okay, alright, I will study it with my
Bible open, look up all the Scriptures, and take however long it
takes to prove the right from wrong."

I went home that evening and spent some hours studying it all. I
was amazed at the Scriptures I was reading, verses came popping
out, blinding me with light. At the end of it all I REJOICED that
I had found truth in God's word I did not know existed.
That was just a little start, as I was to go on to discover. I
think that was a little test for me from God, to see what my
attitude would be. With that little test, I just had to admit
some "theological" error - didn't have to change my life-style as
such, just had to admit a theological error and admit what the
truth of the Bible was on the subject of death and going to
heaven or hell.

Well the flood doors were open now, and wow, what the Lord was
about to pour at me - challenge after challenge, hours, and days,
and weeks, and months, of the study of His word. But I WANTED to
KNOW His truths. I was wanting to be CORRECTED, I cried out to
Him to show me truth from error. I said, "Lord, I desire to
HUNGER and THIRST after your righteousness. You have promised
that Your Spirit will lead us into all truth. Lead me Lord!"
It was not easy, it was work, hours upon hours of it, hours of
meditation on all that I was studying, going to the local library
and reading this book and that book. Then back to reading the
Bible. Often I would read the Bible on my knees, with a lot of
prayer to the Almighty for guidance.
I was in an attitude of fearing the word of God before the fear
of men and what they had to say, or what they may think of my
life in Christ, as I moved into a closer and clearer perspective
of what it REALLY MEANS to be a DISCIPLE of the Lord.

All of that is a long time back for me now, from being 19 years
old to my present 65 years of age. But I hope I have not lost
that BURNING DESIRE to have all the aspects it takes to be a TRUE
disciples of Christ. No matter where you are on the road to
eternal life, HUMILITY, a willingness to be taught, to be
corrected, a desire of mind that loves to grow in grace and
knowledge of our Lord and Savior, will ALWAYS be needed. A
continual reading of the Word of God (yes sometimes maybe on your
knees); a mind-set that is always saying to the Lord, "Show me my
errors, show me my sins, lead me Lord into more and more light;
guide me Father into truth, and help me then to live it, no
matter what others may think."  
We will need, to the end of our life, the ability to GIVE UP
whatever we need to give up, to FOLLOW IN THE STEPS OF JESUS. It
may not always be easy, and it may consist of some of those
things that may be dear to us; a job you've always wanted, that
little bit of fame or fortune you've wanted (not all of such is
bad or wrong but to serve the Lord fully, you may have to let
such go by). You may have to give up (in whatever ways it may be)
a loved one, a family member, a wife, a husband. You may have to
give up your LIFE!
That is how much Jesus said you must IF God required it, GIVE UP
to serve Him, to be a DISCIPLE of Christ Jesus.

Many down through the centuries, were willing to give up much in
this physical life, some even gave up their lives, to be called a 
disciple of Jesus Christ.
Most of us today, at present, will not have to give
up our lives for Christ, some in the future, during the last
three and one half years of this age, will be called upon to be
martyrs for the truth of God. Those that are, will be in very
good company with those who were martyrs in the past, for the
word of God, and for the truth that is in Christ Jesus.

Being a TRUE disciples of Christ is a lot more than just saying
you are a Christian, words can be easily spoken and words can be
cheap, but LIVING as Jesus set us the example in everything we
say and do, is the REAL test of who truly belongs to Him.

I pray that you will be one of those whom the Lord will say at
His coming, "Well done, thou good and faithful servant, enter
into the joy of thy Lord."

                              ...............

Entered on this Website December 2007


 
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