Throughout the New Testament we read about disciples. To be a disciple means to be a follower of Christ, a learner or apprentice of His, and a devoted believer in Him. Over the years, I’ve had the privilege of delivering scores of messages and writing several books on discipleship.
A close review of Scripture reveals that a disciple must not only accept the promises of Christ by faith but must also be willing to apply those truths to his life. There must be a resulting action from the commitment or conversion experience. As Jesus tells us, “By their fruit you will recognize them.” (Matthew 7:16) There are always godly by-products from living a Spirit-filled life.
The Apostle Paul wrote the letter to the Roman followers of Christ prior to his visit to Rome. He begins Romans by surveying the spiritual condition of all mankind, especially as he understood it to be in Rome. If you look at what Rome was like back then, it was much like America is today.
The first eleven chapters of Romans explain that sin is a problem we all share, salvation through Christ is the only answer, the Holy Spirit indwells us, and we serve a grace-filled God who wishes none to perish.
Then, in Romans 12, Paul offers a clear picture of what a disciple or follower of Jesus looks like:
- He is surrendered to God and seeks to please Him. (Vs. 1)
- He is not to be of this world, but rather be transformed by God. (Vs. 2)
- He has an accurate picture of himself: “God made me for His glory!” (Vs. 3)
- He is a member of the body of Christ. (Vs. 5)
- He has gifts from God with which he is to serve others. (Vs. 6)
- He loves others and hates evil. (Vs. 9)
- He is “joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.” (Vs. 12)
- He serves others—allowing God’s love to pass through him. (Vs. 13)
- He lives in harmony with and acceptance of those around him. (Vs. 16)
In short, a disciple of Jesus lives like Jesus. The above bullets aren’t a list of rules to live by but express the character of Christ that His followers should seek to imitate. We cannot walk with God and stand still at the same time. God is on a mission and He asks us to join Him. When we spend time with Christ, we become more like Him. It’s that simple. Let’s endeavor to be a Romans 12 disciple.
Scripture Reading: Romans 12:1-16
Personal Application: Spend time with Jesus each day, asking Him to make you more like Him. Then look for opportunities to express His character as you spend time around others.
Jim Grassi, D. Min. and Wendell Morton
We cherish any verse in Scripture that reminds us to keep focused and intentional about evangelism and discipleship. “But you, keep your head in all situations, endure hardship, do the work of an evangelist, discharge all the duties of your ministry.” 2 Timothy 4:5