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Verse 31: “If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples.” So this got me pondering what else the New Testament might say about really being a disciple. Here are a few things that I found… starting with this verse:
Obedience to the Liberating Word of God – John 8:31 31 To the Jews who had believed him, Jesus said, “If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. 32 Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”
Daily Denial of Self and Surrender to our Savior – Matthew 16:24-26 24 Then Jesus said to his disciples, “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. 25 For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will find it. 26 What good will it be for someone to gain the whole world, yet forfeit their soul? Or what can anyone give in exchange for their soul?
A Life Centered on the Cross – Luke 14:26-27, 33 26 “If anyone comes to me and does not hate father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters—yes, even their own life—such a person cannot be my disciple. 27 And whoever does not carry their cross and follow me cannot be my disciple. …33 In the same way, those of you who do not give up everything you have cannot be my disciples.
Genuine Love for Other Believers – John 13:34-35 34 “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. 35 By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”
The Fruitfulness of Abiding in Christ and Steadfast Prayer – John 15:5-8 5 “I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. 6 If you do not remain in me, you are like a branch that is thrown away and withers; such branches are picked up, thrown into the fire and burned. 7 If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. 8 This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples.
Here is the question that I have to ask myself: Am I a disciple of Jesus, a fully devoted follower, or am I just a tag-a-long? One of the reasons that Jesus was so candid in His conversations was because He knew there were many who were just tag-a-longs. He wanted His disciples to know what they were getting themselves into. Being a disciple is not a walk in the park. It is a life-long journey that WILL involve trouble and crisis and heartache and quite possibly will involve persecution and suffering and mistreatment.
“Father, by Your Spirit would You give me the courage and fortitude to wholeheartedly follow You no matter what. I don’t want to just be a tag-a-long who follows after You only as long as things are going well.”
Next Week’s Passage: John 9:1-12