This entire blog is predicated around becoming a disciple of Jesus. But what does discipleship look like? How do we know if we are getting closer to the mark? I would say first, discipleship is a standard to be pursued, not a target to be hit. There will never be a day when you can sit back and exclaim, “Ah! At last I’ve reached discipleship!”
Being a disciple of Jesus is a process that will consume your entire lifetime. To be a disciple signifies nothing ever will mean more to you than desiring to live a life mirroring the life of Jesus. Discipleship is the total dedication of your life to His calling and purpose. To be a disciple is to be daily engaged in the mission of Christ.
A good place to start in defining discipleship is at the Great Commandment. Jesus stated the greatest commandment of all was to love Him with all our heart, soul, and mind (Matthew 22:36-40). He followed that up by telling us the second greatest commandment is to love others like ourselves. Unless we are willing to love God above all else – all forms of comfort, security, entertainment, and satisfaction – we cannot be a disciple of Jesus. Unless we are willing to consider the needs of others as important as our own needs, we cannot be a disciple of Jesus.
It’s a tall order. It’s why Jesus said many will be called, but few will be chosen (Matthew 22:1-14). He also said the entryway to Heaven was narrow (Matthew 7:13-14). I believe there are many professing Christians who are walking down the wide path, convinced they are safe, but there are far fewer disciples actually approaching the narrow gate leading to God’s presence. Disciples of Jesus look like Jesus. They do the things He told them to do. Disciples live in love, caring for the needs of others and living their lives wholly devoted to Christ.
Consider the parable of the Sheep and the Goats (Matthew 25:31-46). Jesus clearly instructs His followers to care for the poor, sick, homeless, and imprisoned. James, the brother of Jesus implores us to watch over the orphans and widows (James 1:27). The prophet Isaiah was inspired by God to tell us to break the chains of injustice and to care for others without neglecting our own families (Isaiah 58:6-7). These are the trademarks of a disciple. Living out these commands is what discipleship looks like.
Here’s a simple answer to the question, “What does discipleship look like?” Discipleship looks like Jesus. When we live our lives in such a way that others see Him in and through us, we can know we are living the life of a disciple. To be a disciple means we care nothing for anything other than Jesus and showing His love to others. Discipleship means we live for God and neighbor rather than for ourselves. It’s all about disregarding care for our own future on earth in order to gain an eternity with Christ in Heaven. Love God above all else. Serve people with no regard for your own desires. This is what discipleship looks like.