February 5, 2023 | Doug Sauder
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“And what you have heard from me in the presence of many witnesses entrust to faithful men, who will be able to teach others also.”—2 Timothy 2:2 (ESV)
What is a disciple? There are two prominent words found in the Bible that are translated into English as disciple: talmid (Hebrew) and mathetes (Greek). They both mean the same thing . . . student, learner, pupil. So, in essence, a disciple is a lifelong student of Jesus Christ, one who follows after Jesus and learns to live, act, speak, and work like Jesus.
The Gospels make it clear that discipleship must be a priority to us because it was a priority to Jesus, who spent three very intentional, transformational, life-changing years pouring into His disciples. In those three years, He taught them both practical and spiritual lessons. He empowered them, kept them accountable, corrected them when they were in the wrong, prayed for them, ate with them, walked with them, and had fun with them. He even cried with them. Christ showed them what it meant to love God, to abide in Him, and to follow Him. He prepared them to go into the world and make more disciples, even as He had made them disciples. And then, He sent them out to do it!
It didn’t stop there, though, because He didn’t just send them out . . . He also sends us out to make disciples. You see, anyone who calls himself or herself a disciple of Jesus is also called to be a disciple-maker. You see, it’s a two-fold, lifelong process!
The first part is our journey of discipleship. It’s never over. From the moment we respond to Jesus’ call, until the moment we meet Him face-to-face in heaven, we’re disciples who need to be discipled. This means we need people speaking into our lives—mentors, people further along in the journey—who embody what it means to follow Jesus and set examples for us to emulate (1 Corinthians 11:1). We need people we can rely on, who can hold us accountable, encourage us, empower us, spur us on, call us out, cry with us, grow with us, and provide godly wisdom and insight into our lives.
Consider the relationship in the Bible between young Timothy and his mentor, the apostle Paul. No matter where we are in our spiritual journey, we can all benefit from having a “Paul” in our life. Mentors are instrumental in the development of our faith and walk as a disciple. If you’ve never had a mentor, now is the time to seek one out. Consider asking a trusted pastor, leader, or group leader to mentor you, or ask a church leader to help pair you up with a suitable mentor.
The second part of discipleship is becoming a disciple-maker. As we grow and become more mature as believers, we’re expected to go from being a “Timothy” to serving as a “Paul” in someone else’s life. We’re expected to reproduce in others what Christ has poured into us and what mentors, spiritual leaders, and fellow believers have helped us grow in.
Pause: What makes discipleship one of the most important relational aspects of the Christian faith?
Practice: Here are a few things to consider when engaging in the discipleship process:
Where are you in those steps? Where can you jump in and begin?
Pray: Father, I thank You for not only saving me and giving me a place in Your Kingdom, but also for allowing me to be part of Your family, the family of faith. I thank You for my place in Your family. I pray I would honor and glorify You where You have placed me and with my relationships with the people around me. I pray for those You have ordained to disciple me and for those You have ordained for me to disciple. May we all daily grow in intimacy with You by the power of the Spirit and look a little more like You. Amen.
Danny Saavedra is a licensed minister who has served on staff at Calvary since 2012, managing the Calvary Devotional and digital discipleship resources. He has a Master of Arts in Pastoral Counseling and Master of Divinity in Pastoral Ministry from Liberty Theological Seminary. His wife Stephanie, son Jude, and daughter Zoe share a love of Star Wars, good food, having friends over for dinner, and studying the Word together as a family.