“A disciple is a disciple, right?” “Every disciple looks different.”
Maybe you’ve heard or even asked these types of questions at some point in time. I know I have. However, the crucial question is, “What kind of disciples are we making?” The only question that might be more important is, “Are we actually making any disciples to start with?”
Some of Jesus’ last words told to make disciples of all nations. We should all be living the life of disciple-making as his followers. Once we commit to making disciples, we need to make sure we are making the correct type of disciples. In Luke 6:40, Jesus said, “A disciple is not above his teacher, but everyone, when he is fully trained, will be like his teacher.”
Jesus’ words clarify what kind of disciples we need to be making. Jesus defines a disciple as fully trained to be like their teacher. That would be Jesus!
Being like our teacher means being like Jesus in our character and conduct. Character is defined by “who” you are, and conduct is defined by “what” you do. Character is being like Jesus on the inside, and conduct is like Jesus on the outside.
Becoming like Jesus does not happen automatically. No one wakes up the next day living like their teacher. We must be trained. We must be trained fully. A fully trained disciple looks and acts like Jesus. This was true of the original disciples, it is also true of us. No disciple is ever fully developed, but they can be fully trained. Full development will not happen until you are ready for heaven. Fully trained means you know what it takes to live the way Jesus did and accomplish his mission.
Training his disciples to be like him took Jesus several years. They needed to be “with him” to become more like him. Jesus said in Mark 3:14 that he chose the twelve to be with him so that he might send them. The exact process happens in the making of fully trained disciples today.
When we make disciples that look like Jesus, that is very objective, not subjective. The character of Jesus can best be summarized in the fruit of the Spirit Paul mentions in the book of Galatians. The conduct of Jesus can best be seen in the disciples of the Jerusalem church recorded in Acts 2. Both of these passages give us a grid, if you will, for what a fully trained disciple will look like. When the fruit of the Spirit is displayed in “who” you are and the acts of the early disciples are demonstrated in “what” you do, you will have a very objective idea of what a fully trained disciple of Christ looks like.
The world would be very different if everyone were making fully trained disciples who look like Jesus in their character and conduct. We are making the disciple-making process way more difficult than it needs to be. We need to get back to what Jesus told his disciples to do two thousand years ago and make disciples that look like him.
At Impact Discipleship Ministries, we are entirely devoted to helping people make fully trained disciples who look like Jesus. If we can assist you with materials, training, or coaching, please contact us to learn more. We can be reached at impactdisciples.com.