by Dr. Robert Jeffress
If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word. . . . He who does not love Me does not keep My words.
What is a disciple? First of all, if the reason we exist is to be disciples of Jesus and to go out and make other disciples, then we better know what a disciple looks like. There are four primary characteristics of a disciple of Jesus Christ.
First of all, a disciple is a Christian. Now I can hear the collective “duh” from those of you reading these words. “Obviously a disciple is a Christian! Why would you even take time to write that?” The truth is there are a lot of people who are trying to live the Christian life without being a Christian. They are trying to follow the teachings of Jesus without having the supernatural power to do so. You see, a non-Christian cannot be a disciple of Christ. He is not a friend of God; he is an enemy of God. The Bible says we are born into this world separated from God. There is a barrier between us and God, and that barrier is sin. The reason Christ died for you and me is to tear down that barrier. Also, a non-Christian lacks the supernatural resources to be a disciple. You need the supernatural power of the Holy Spirit, who comes into your life when you’re saved. So first of all, a disciple is someone who has made that foundational decision to receive Christ as his Savior. But that’s not all.
Second, a disciple has a growing relationship with Christ. That is, he knows God better today than he did a year ago. He knows more about God’s Word today than he did a year ago. He is more obedient in his life to God today than he was a year ago. His relationship with God is not static; it’s dynamic. What would you say to a friend who confessed, “You know, I hardly feel like I know my spouse anymore. We don’t do many things together. I don’t feel as close to my spouse as I once did. I really don’t enjoy being around him (or her) that much.” You would probably say that person’s marriage is disintegrating, wouldn’t you? It’s the same in our relationship with Jesus Christ. If you are a disciple of Christ, then you will be growing in your relationship with Christ.
Third, a disciple obeys Christ in every area of his life. That’s why Jesus said we are to teach disciples to observe all things He commanded us. A disciple doesn’t pick and choose the parts of Jesus’ commands he is going to obey. “I think I will do this, but that part is too hard.” It doesn’t work that way. A disciple of Jesus is intent on applying all of Christ’s commands to his life. Jesus said, “If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word . . . He who does not love Me does not keep My words” (John 14:23-24).
Fourth, a disciple makes new disciples. If you are truly a follower of Jesus Christ, then you will take seriously these final orders from Jesus: go into all the world and make disciples. Whatever your vocation is, whatever your responsibilities are, you’re going to understand the one reason God left you here was to help people follow Jesus. That is our one reason for being here. That’s what a disciple is. A disciple is a person committed to obeying Jesus and committed to making new disciples.