Picking up where we left off in part one, we are going to look at some examples from Scripture that can help uncover whether we are just a Christian or a True Disciple of Jesus Christ.
Disciples LOVE the Lord!
I was talking with one of my sisters a few days ago and she made a statement that literally hurt my heart. She said, “the church has grown tired of God.” Though heartbreaking, I am afraid she is right!
There are bookoos of “believers” today. They believe the Lord exists, but they do not love Him. Because they do not love Him, they pick and choose what they will and will not obey from His Word. They do not have true, non-negotiable convictions, and will compromise based on their own feelings, desires and preservation of self. Disciples, on the other hand, LOVE the Lord!
Jesus stated that those who love Him KEEP His commandments. The word translated keep (or keepeth in the KJV) is the Greek word τηρέω / tēreō (tay-reh’-o). It means
There was a time when more professing Christians actually loved the Lord and proved it by attending carefully to His Word. In their hearts they guarded it closely. The Word of God was more precious to them than money or fine jewels. As time progressed, however, this began to dwindle so that there is a vast difference between the saints of old and those of today. Disciples, on the other hand, still prove their love for the Lord by keeping His commandments. Let’s give some thought to a few examples.
I am often saddened to hear some professing Christians discuss the TV shows and movies they “Love.” Some of these programs are so filthy that even sinners have complaints about them!
People who just claim to be Christians have no trouble watching filth, being best buds with the wicked, hanging with liars and even lying themselves when it is to their benefit. Even those who choose to turn away from the Lord find ready support and fast camaraderie amongst Christians today. However, not so for a Disciple!Today’s Christians can do a lot of things, but True Disciples do not; they are obligated by their love and allegiance to God and His Word. Click To Tweet
Disciples do not indulge in everything. They are not those who seek to gratify their flesh at every turn. They follow their example [Jesus Christ], and live a life that is clean before the Father. They do not put wickedness before their eyes, and they want nothing to do with evil. Disciples take a stand, and will not partake of or support wickedness. They live by God’s standards in their homes, and they are not compatriots with the wicked.
By the decisions many of us make, we cannot claim to be disciples. Some of us have ungodly friends with whom we fit in just fine. We find pleasure in sin right along with them, proving we are not disciples.
Christian parents bend over backwards for children/adult children. Some claim salvation while allowing and purchasing what their kids require to listen to or participate in those things that are ungodly. Others allow adult children to return home who have chosen the ungodly path; they allow them to return complete with sinful lifestyle and all. Why? Because “that’s my baby;” so what it’s against the Word of God to do these things (Eph 6:4b; Prov 22:6; Prov 29:15; Deut 6:7; Matt 18:6). These parents may have good intentions, but they fail to realize they are doing their child a great disservice.
Disciples do not love any person, place or thing more than they love God, period! (Luke 14:26, Matt 10:37) Disciples do not disobey God or His Word for anyone or anything, period! Disciples are not cowards; the do the hard thing and make the difficult but right decisions when it comes to loving God and keeping His Word. (2 Thess 3:14; 1 Cor 5:11; 1 Cor 5:13; 2 Thess 3:6; 2 John 1:9-11)
For disciples the instruction in the above verse is not a grievous thing (1 John 5:3), but we see many Christians today for whom this instruction is just not on the “to do” list. Disciples are not ashamed of being unquestionably associated with the Lord (Luke 9:26; 2 Tim 2:12 ). They love God more than any look, habit, custom etc…of the world.
It is both surprising and sad when one recognizes the lack of compassion and understanding (and dare I say love?) for others amongst so many Christians today. We are supposed to be the laborers who are sent into the harvest. But these days, so many of us simply do not care. We take the world’s cold view towards the less fortunate; therefore, we have no compassion for the poor, sick, weak…the hell bound.
Some of us are like the individuals in the parable of the Good Samaritan (Luke 10:25-37) who refused to help the man in need. We will not be burdened with another, and sometimes we don’t even mind letting them know it. Many of us lack the love to even pray for those who are caught in the grip of the enemy, preferring instead to run them deeper in the ground with our mouths. This is not the way of a disciple.
Disciples love who and what God loves. They have concern for those in various states of need. When disciples look at the sea of humanity, because they have the heart of their Master, they too are filled with compassion.
Disciples are sympathetic to the plight of those who are bound. Disciples love others according to Scripture. They are merciful, patient, kind etc. (1 Cor 13) They do not return evil for evil. They do not curse others! Disciples understand how merciful, patient, loving etc. the Father is with them and, therefore, will pray for others and not denigrate them. They follow the footsteps of the Savior. Jesus never vilified others, and disciples don’t either!
When did the church flip to the point that their hearts are more set on the material things of earth than on the treasures God has prepared for those who love and live for Him? The balance is off today, and it is a disheartening thing!
Christians speak of believing God, trusting God, and the Lord being their Source. But so often the focus of their faith is more for worldly gain. Their topics of conversation are more often than not about sports, TV shows, movies, houses, cars and money; those things that moths and rust destroy and thieves steal.
Very seldom, if ever these days, do you hear Christians really talk about believing God to see and do the works and greater works that Christ did and spoke about (John 14:12). These days there is little to no mention of heaven and what God has in store (1 Cor 2:9; Heb 11:16). I can’t tell you the last time I’ve heard someone at church speak of a deep desire to see Jesus’ face. Growing up saints talked often of that day when they would finally see their Savior’s face, what it will be like at the Marriage Supper of the Lamb etc. Nowadays you’re more apt to hear Christians talk “down” about those who focus on heaven “too much!”
Disciples, on the other hand, choose to store up treasure in heaven. They are not focused on gaining all the gold, silver, cash and toys this world has to offer. They realize that neither Jesus nor any of the Apostle’s set their hearts on the perishables of this world. As a matter of fact, disciples recognize the Scripture’s admonition regarding the world’s wealth. (Matt 19:23; 1 Tim 6:9-10; Matt 13:22; Luke 18:24; Heb 13:5; Prov 23:4-5; Prov 11:28; Mark 4:19; Luke 16:19-26; Matt 6:19-21; Matt 6:24; Luke 12:15)
In Scripture we read that Jesus had nowhere to lay His head (Luke 9:58). We do not find any Apostles being obsessed with burgeoning bank accounts, chariot collections or owning a palational domus or two. We do read where God supplied their needs according to HIS RICHES in glory. We do not read of these devout followers going before the Lord as prodigals, begging for the Father’s riches here on earth (Heb 13:14). No, they worked in earth’s harvest ready fields and looked forward to the heirs reward they would receive upon arriving home (Rev 22:4; John 14:2; Rev 21:1-27).
Jesus was not preoccupied with material things. Disciples are not preoccupied with material things. Many Christians, on the other hand, have treasure that is strictly earth bound. Their heart is here, their desire is a “good life” here, more corruptible things here. Their heart’s desire is actually not the Lord; therefore, their heart is certainly not where God is (Matt 15:8).
Disciples embrace the fact they are pilgrims PASSING THROUGH this wicked world (Phil 3:20; 1 Peter 2:11). They view themselves as those whose home is in the Celestial City with God, and they can’t wait to go home (2 Cor 5:2; 2 Cor 5:8; Phil 1:23). Not for gold streets and mansions, but because they will be with the Lord! To see the Savior of their souls is their hearts desire. Not only do they want to go home, they want to take as many as they can with them. Like the Lord, their hearts are concerned for the souls bound for hell (2 Pet 3:9; Rom 9:1-33; 1 Tim 2:4; Ezek 18:23; Ezek 18:32).
Multitudes are dying every day. Perhaps in your own community you are seeing the loss of a hundred or more people a day due to pestilence. This is not lost on disciples. No! It makes their heart heavy because they know the majority of those souls have lifted and will be lifting up their eyes in hell.
Jesus tells His followers not to worry; don’t get wrapped up in the cares of this life. Philippians 4:6 states, “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God which passes all understanding shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.” Scripture also instructs us to “Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.” (Prov 3:5-6)
In today’s chaotic world we can see the blatant disregard of these instructions by so many. Covid19, and its cure that isn’t, have ripped the cover off of many to reveal the truth that so many are not trusting in God. I visited a church and actually heard regurgitated propaganda from the mouth of both leaders and lay members. Individuals who are mask laden in the House of God, even though There is no one else in front, behind or on the side of them…separated by at least 2 full rows or more. Fearful Christians actually disparaging their pastor for not cultivating a fearful atmosphere in the House of God, foolishly praising the lying CDC and being some of the 1st in line to get the jab. (And no, this is not a political post for or against the shot of the day.)
I remember mentioning to my family that what has amazed me in all of this is that I had not heard one professing Christian who had gotten the jab say that they asked God if they should get it. I didn’t hear any even mention God!
Last year, Christians who wouldn’t drive 2-4 minutes around the corner to visit family because they didn’t want to take any chances on catching Covid (mind you, their family was not sick). I have talked with various individuals who stay zeroed in on what the media is pushing. They soak up every ounce of fear mongering that comes down the pike. As they express their fears and begin to buckle on their previously held stances, they NEVER mention God. They are fearful they won’t have funds for this, that or the other, but they NEVER even think about God – whom they “agree” is their provider. This is most definitely not the mindset or behavior of Disciples.Disciples know that fear is one of satan’s major tools against humanity; however, Our God does not operate in fear! (2 Tim 1:7) Click To Tweet
Therefore, disciples will not be manipulated, moved by the fear-mongering of man. Disciples trust in God. They BELIEVE what He says! They keep his commandments.
God’s commandments tell us multiple times not to fear, so disciples will not fear! His commandments tell us multiple times to trust that he will always take care of His people; therefore, disciples stand on that and refuse to worry about how they will live, eat, dress etc…
Disciples focus on what God is doing. They do not ignore what is going on around them, but they use it as signs that point to where we are on God’s timeline. They are not moved by the chaos, real or fake. The happenings in this world cause them to keep looking up because they know their redemption draws nigh!
Disciples listen to the Lord. They KNOW His voice. How? Because they listen to Him more than they listen to every Tom, Dick and Sally found running their mouths.
For disciples there are no “buts” when it comes to Scripture and the right way to do things. They keep their walk, as my dad would say, gun barrel straight. Disciples are not led by emotion or what they or anybody else “thinks.” They acknowledge God in everything they do and let God direct their path.
Don’t get me wrong, I am taking this all in first. Because I realize there are areas where I too have got to come up. I must admit, for example, that I have not been one to acknowledge God in everything I do. Most of the time, like most folks, you weigh your options and do what you think is best. That is not the way of a true disciple, and I had to acknowledge that repentance was necessary for my disobedience!
I have only scratched a little bit of the surface with the aforementioned examples from Scripture. You will have to consult The Handbook of The Way, for the full directive for a true believer’s life.
Have you found yourself anywhere in this post? In what category do you fall, Christian or Disciple? How would God answer regarding you?
Desire to be a disciple? Desire to make the transition from just a Christian to a dedicated disciple of the Lord? I hope and pray so!
In part 3 of this series, we will take a look at some practical steps to becoming a disciple.
Until next time,
God bless you!