5 Qualities of Discipleship from a Biblical Perspective
In the Great Commission, Jesus told his closest friends to go and make disciples of all nations (Matthew 28:19). After ministering to others, it’s beneficial to know whether we are actually fulfilling that instruction.
Have we in fact made disciples of the people we’ve ministered to? How can we be sure?
Fortunately, the Bible has given us some guidelines to help us determine if someone is in fact living as a disciple. Characteristics of righteous people are mentioned throughout the Bible and certainly agree with each other (an important aspect of Bible study is determining that Scripture confirms Scripture; i.e. that other parts of the Bible confirm your interpretation about a specific passage that you are studying).
The most ideal point to start at in analyzing the qualities of a disciple of Christ is to start with the attributes of God. We need to know who God is if we are to identify His followers.
Below are 5 qualities of a disciple of God, as shown in Scripture, and consequently 5 qualities of God Himself.
A disciple is one who is a follower and learner of a person or group. The goal is to learn, live, and be like Jesus Christ. The path of discipleship is a journey that includes studying the Bible, fellowship with others, receiving ministry, and doing ministry. The Bible gives us a variety of characteristics that are desirable in a disciple. What are these qualities? The Bible is clear on the qualities of discipleship.
Here are 5 beautiful of a disciple of God, as shown in Scripture, and consequently 5 qualities of God Himself:
1. A Disciple Is Patient, Kind, and Gentle
The Bible tells us that God is patient with us, slow to anger and abounding in love (Psalm 86:15).
Consequently, the Bible also calls us to be patient, kind, and gentle, by bearing HIS fruit in our lives (Galatians 5:22). When we allow His fruit to grow in our lives, our actions naturally become more patient, kind, and gentle.
2. A Disciple Lives a Life that is Submitted to God’s Will
God is reflected in the Bible as having a very clear plan for humanity and sticking with it (Philippians 1:6). The very life and death of Christ is the fulfillment of this plan. As He resonates through his disciples, they too will begin to take control of their lives, getting excited about letting Christ become ruler over every aspect. Wasteful living is rejected and daily activities are carried out with the purpose of serving God.
3. A Disciple Lives a Sacrificial Life on Behalf of Others
Christ gave up everything to be the ultimate sacrifice for our salvation. The Bible calls us to be living sacrifices (Romans 12:1). This means being willing to give up our own desires, dreams, and comforts to instead be a blessing to others. There have been many examples in history of disciples showing this sacrificial love to violent people whose lives completely changed because they saw their need to also have that kind of sacrificial love.
4. A Disciple Works Diligently
While it is Biblically true that we are all saved by grace and not by works (Ephesians 2:9), still, our works are an indication of our salvation (James 2:18). What we do does not lead us closer to salvation, but what we do reflects whether we are saved. This is also true in our willingness to work. There is a big difference between resting in the Lord and laziness. Laziness is not willing to work; resting in God is finding the strength in Him to be able to work and work well. A disciple will still clean, help with other chores, work to earn a living, and be willing to work hard as a blessing to others.
5. A Disciple Embraces the Good in Others
In our human nature, we are quick to judge, placing labels on others and expecting them to always be that way. Through Christ, we should be ready to believe the change in others, as we remember the changes God caused in us. The Bible calls us to always look for the good in others, just as God always saw the potential in us (Ephesians 4). Jonah, who is depicted in the Bible as having an attitude contrary to God’s attitude toward the people of Nineveh, nevertheless is still used by God. God saw Jonah’s potential even when Jonah was not living up to that potential. We need God’s grace to be able to see the potential in others.
God is the one who causes His nature to grow within us (1 Corinthians 3:7). We cannot be better people without His strength and guidance. While we all still struggle with sin and can fail many times, by His grace we can start to show more of the attributes mentioned above. These attributes will be some of the markers that can confirm that indeed, Christ lives within us and we are His disciples.
Global Disciples Canada is a Christian mission organization that trains local leaders living near least-reached communities to multiply disciples for Christ. One-third of our world hasn’t heard the Good News of Jesus. Yet. Global Disciples refers to these as “least-reached” people, and fewer than 10% of all missionaries work among these groups. We live in a time where many of these people are within reach of a local church. Through our simple and effective strategy of training and coaching, believers share the Gospel in their own nations and cultures. Jesus said, “Go and make disciples of all nations,” and we’re committed to doing just that. If you are looking for a Christian mission organization to partner with to become a better disciple and help make disciples, connect with us today!
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