Jesus commanded us to make disciples of all nations. (Matt. 28:18-20) But what does a true disciple of Christ look like? How do I know I am on the right track in my efforts to make disciples? Is there a way to measure such a person?
Does it have to do with standards of performance? Or a certain degree of church involvement? Or the length and intensity of ones prayer life? Who decides the criteria? Following are several Scriptural definitions of a disciple. We are on safe ground in our definition of a disciple if we stay with these basic, yet profound meanings:
A Disciple of Christ has forsaken all to follow Christ: "In the same way, any of you who does not give up everything he has cannot be my disciple." (Lk. 14:33) (See Lk. 14:26-33) (Also see Luke 18:22,28-30; Phil. 3:7,8; 1 Jn. 2:15,16)
QUESTION: Has your disciple, in his quest to follow Christ, surrendered control of his rights?
A Disciple of Christ is a serious adherent of God’s word: "…Jesus said, If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free." (Jn. 8:31,32) (I Sam. 12:14; Matt. 7:24-27; Jms. 1:22-25)
QUESTION: Has your disciple made the decision to build his life on the authority of Gods word?
A Disciple of Christ loves others unconditionally and sacrificially as Christ loves us: "A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another." (Jn. 13:34,35) (See Jn. 15:13)
QUESTION: Is the life of your disciple characterized by selfish indulgence or sacrificial service?
A Disciple of Christ is growing in Christ likeness: "A disciple is not above his teacher, but everyone who is fully trained will be like his teacher." (Lk. 6:40) (See Jn. 15:20; 2Cor. 3:18)
QUESTION: Is the fruit of the Spirit increasingly operative in the life of your disciple? (Gal. 5:22,23)
A Disciple of Christ bears much, lasting fruit: "This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples… You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you to go and bear fruit–fruit that will last…" (Jn. 15:8,16) (See Prov. 11:30)
QUESTION: Are the lives of people being changed into Christlikeness through the influence of your disciple?