Words can be very intimidating, especially if you don’t know what they mean. You may have experienced this when going to the doctor. A while ago, our daughter was sick and we took her to the pediatrician. When the doctor examined her, she told us that she had a virus and then gave us the name of that virus. For a split second, this this is scary, that is until she said that by the end of the week she’d be over it and she’d just have a sore throat.
Sometimes being a Christian can be the same way. People may use unfamiliar words to talk about being a Christian that if left undefined can seem intimidating or even scary. Disciple and discipleship fall under that category. They’re simply not words that we use on a regular basis outside of church and considering that the meaning of disciple in the Bible is somewhat rooted in what it meant to be a disciple of a teacher in the 1st century, it can be even harder for us to grasp.
The truth is that being a disciple and being involved in discipleship shouldn’t be intimidating. While the words often invoke deep conversations, hours spent in a class studying, or some other arduous task, a disciple of Jesus is simply someone who follows Jesus. When we read of references to the disciples in the Gospels, they were the people who literally followed Jesus around. In our time, we can’t literally walk behind Jesus, but we can follow his ways and trust in him as our leader. Discipleship then is being guided or guiding someone in the process of following Jesus. Going to church can be discipleship. Reading your bible can be a part of your discipleship. Getting godly advice from a friend can be discipleship.
If you get nothing else from this post, I want to encourage you to think of yourself as a disciple. If you are a Christian then you are a follower (a disciple) of Jesus and your goal as a disciple is to follow him more and more each day. Sometimes this may involve classes, groups, meetings, services, etc. Most of the time, however, it means approaching your day in a way a follower of Jesus would. Jesus said that the law was summed up by loving God and loving your neighbor. A disciple asks how can they love and their your neighbor each day. That’s really all there is to it. Discipleship is the process where we try to get better at it with the help of others. There’s really no need to be afraid. We just need to ask how can we, with the help of others, follow Jesus more each day.