Being a disciple is more than discipling …

Words can’t express the joy I feel in seeing the topic of discipleship becoming increasingly important (and discussed more frequently) in the church. But as we engage more in talking about discipleship, sometimes we make it a little too simplistic.

Sometimes we see discipleship described only in terms of the evangelistic mission of making new disciples, and often it’s spoken of in terms of one who disciples new believers.

But there’s more to being a disciple than either of these two aspects of making other disciples. That’s why scripture describes discipleship from a “big picture” point of view, showing us what it means for us to be a disciple, with the idea of what a disciple does will flow from our new being as a Christ follower.

To understand this better, look closely at Colossians 3:10, “Put on your new nature, and be renewed as you learn to know your Creator and become like Him.”

Discipleship is our becoming alive in Christ. In this new life, we put on an entirely new nature, something we need to do every day as we walk with God. And as we walk with God each day, he continues to renew or transform us. During this life-long experience, we continuously are learning about God and becoming more and more like Him.

It’s because we put on this new nature …

It’s because we are being renewed …

It’s because we are learning to know our Creator …

It’s because we are becoming more like Him …

… that we share the Gospel with others to make new disciples, and then disciple them in the Way of Christ.

Discipleship starts with being a disciple who puts on that new nature, continues to be changed, continues to learn and grow, and because we are becoming more like our Savior, we increasingly think, feel, and act like Him.

Our “doing” flows from our new “being.”

Part of the problem we see in some discipleship efforts today is trying to force the “doing” without first experiencing the “being.” You cannot do the work of a disciple with the power of God without first being a disciple.

So if you really want to be a disciple of Christ, what should you do?

Put on your new nature, and be renewed as you learn to know your Creator and become like Him,” Colossians 3:10.