“Follow my example, as I follow the example of Christ.” 1 Corinthians 11:1
The most common term used by the world to describe people of the Christian faith is the word, “Christian.” Jesus never used that term to describe His followers. In fact, it is surprising to many to learn that the term “Christian” is used only three times in the New Testament. The number one term used for followers of Jesus, by far, used over 250 times is the word, “disciple.” That is the term that Jesus used the most and that term both describes who we are as believers and what we are to do as believers. Jesus wants everyone to become His disciple; and then He wants every disciple to become a disciple maker.
Jesus has given His Church two missions: To evangelize – that is to share the Gospel and to invite other people to become disciples, and then to equip these new followers to make disciples of others. We are to point people to Jesus. We are to share the Gospel. We are to share our own stories of how we came to follow Christ. We are to explain to people why every person is a sinner who needs a Savior, and that Savior is Jesus. Once a person becomes a follower of Jesus, that is not the end of his Christian life – it is just the beginning. Then, he is to grow as a disciple and make disciples.
That term, make disciples, can be overwhelming if we do not understand what it means. However, there are some simple questions we can continually be asking ourselves that will help ensure we are both growing as disciples and making disciples of others. The first question is: Do I have a spiritual birth certificate? I do not mean a physical piece of paper, but rather the assurance that you have been born again. There must be a time in your life when you realized you were a sinner who needed a Savior and you trusted in Christ. You believe He died on the cross and came back from the dead and you surrendered your life to Him as your Lord and your Savior. At that moment, God adopts you into His family and you become a disciple.
The second question is: Is my flashlight on? Jesus, who is the light of the world, comes to live in every disciple. That is why He said in Matthew 5:14, “You are the light of the world.” Our job is to shine the light of the Gospel of Jesus to others that they, too, may come out of spiritual darkness and into the light of God’s love.
Disciples and disciple-makers…this is our calling. This is our purpose in life. Whether at work, at home, or in our other relationships and activities, our mission is to shine the light that God has placed within us so that we may say, “Follow me as I follow Christ.”
Dear Lord, I am asking you that this week you would give me specific opportunities to have conversations with people who don't know you so that I might point them to Christ and encourage them to take a step towards knowing you. Please give me those chances and help me to seize the opportunities as they come. In Jesus' name, amen.