Living Up to the Lord’s Standards of Discipleship

by Justin Morton

Well, here we are again. It is hard to believe we only have 2 weeks left in this calendar year. Back in January we first introduced our congregational theme for 2023, “Disciple: Be One. Make Some.” Personally, I have gotten so much out of this year’s theme, and I hope you have as well.

The idea of being a disciple is misunderstood by many people. They think a disciple is just a person who goes to church every week. However, that is not right according to our Lord. Jesus used the word “disciple” 11 times in the Gospels plus their parallel passages. He used the word when talking about eating the Passover with His disciples (Matt. 26:18) and when He gave the great commission (Matt. 28:19-20). Outside of that, Jesus used the word “disciple” 9 times. And here is what Jesus said about being a disciple: a disciple 1. listens to Jesus (Matt. 10:24), 2. looks like Jesus (Matt. 10:25), 3. lives like Jesus (Matt. 10:42), 4. loves Jesus more than anything (Lk. 14:26), 5. bears his own cross (Lk. 14:27), 6. renounces all he has (Lk. 14:33), 7. abides in God’s word (Jn. 8:31), 8. loves others (Jn. 13:34-35) and 9. bears fruit (Jn. 15:8).

When you stop and read everything Jesus said about what it means to be a disciple, you begin to see that being a disciple or follower of Jesus is much more than just “going to church” on Sundays. Being a disciple is a lifestyle we live. Jesus was not concerned about his followers just checking a box one day a week; He was concerned about how we conduct ourselves every day of our lives. So, when you consider what Jesus said about being a disciple, how are you measuring up? Are you living up to Jesus’ standards for His disciples?

This year’s theme has been both very challenging and very encouraging. Sometimes I am guilty of not living up to Jesus’s standards for discipleship. However, it’s also been encouraging.  The lessons I have prepared around this theme have pushed me to be an even more dedicated disciple of our Lord. My hope and prayer is that you feel that way as well. May we all strive to live according to our Lord’s standards: “By this my Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit and so prove to be my disciples” (Jn. 15:8).