DISCIPLE OF JESUS
“And this is my prayer: that your love may abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight…filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ—to the glory and praise of God.” —Philippians 1:9, 11
The Christian life is not just identifying and believing in a faith system. As we look throughout Scripture, we see that Christianity is about giving our whole lives over to Jesus and being transformed by Him into Christlikeness. Following Jesus is being a disciple of Jesus. The most common understanding of a disciple in New Testament time was being an imitator of a rabbi. If the rabbi walked with a limp, the disciples of that rabbi would walk with a limp. If the rabbi spoke with a lisp, the disciples of the rabbi would speak with a lisp. To be a disciple of a rabbi was to be an imitator of a rabbi, not just intellectual and theological alignment, but giving one’s whole being to imitate the rabbi in every way.
Therefore, being a disciple of Jesus is about being an imitator of Jesus, not just adhering to His teachings, but to grow in Christlikeness, to be filled with the righteous character of Jesus and to love others like He did. How do we do these things? The moment we place our faith in Jesus, we receive the Holy Spirit and the Holy Spirit begins to minister to us by bringing about Christlikeness. We depend upon the Holy Spirit and cry out to God saying, “God, help me, strengthen me, enable me, purify me, give
me power to speak in Your ways and act in Your ways through the empowerment of Your Spirit.” Our holiness, our progressive sanctification and our Christlikeness is not produced by us but by Jesus through the indwelling presence and power of the Holy Spirit within us.
In John 15, Jesus uses the analogy of a vine and branches to illustrate what it means to be His disciples. He says, “I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in Me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from Me you can do nothing….This is to My Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be My disciples” (John 15:5, 8). If we are disconnected from the vine, we have no ability in and of ourselves to bear fruit. It is only as we remain connected, abiding in Jesus, that the Spirit produces fruit in our lives.
How do we abide in Jesus? We abide by sitting at His feet, declaring His lordship over our lives, surrendering our opinions and our own understanding for His truth, knowing that His ways are greater than our own ways and submitting ourselves to His authority over us. As we abide, the Spirit will produce the fruit of our salvation and the righteous character of Jesus in us.
Dear Jesus, You are the Lord of my life. I surrender myself to You. May Your Spirit work in me to produce fruit that shows that I am Your disciple. Thank You, Lord.