‘A Disciple is aware of and focussed on the Kingdom of God’ (Ryan Higginbottom)
There’s a difference between the church we attend and the kingdom of God.
Church is a great thing; it’s an important thing. But when Christians focus solely on the church we can forget about the bigger picture of kingdom of God.
As disciples of Jesus, we are reassured that the kingdom of God is within us (Luke 17:21). As a disciple spends time with, and learns from Jesus, we will then be motivated to serve him with a pure heart and a motive of love — not an obligation or a checklist. We then respond by coming to church to worship, serve, and fellowship with other believers.
Disciples recognise that they are ambassadors for the King in the world, and seek to spread the kingdom of God every day of the week wherever we are, not just in a particular building on Sundays. For some this can be a radical shift in thinking, but when the motivation shifts from generating church membership to growing the kingdom of God, the focus from ‘us’ to ‘Him’, and the expression of faith from Sunday to everyday, then we are truly set free!
Are you ready to be kingdom focussed?
‘A Disciple is a committed learner and imitator of Jesus Christ’ (T. Paige)
The goal of the disciple is to become like Christ. All of our efforts at discipleship must keep this goal in mind. If we want to grow as disciples, and if we want others to grow as disciples, we must have as our goal ‘Christlikeness’. Christlikeness cannot be accomplished merely by teaching or even understanding the principles of Christianity theoretically. Rather, to help believers grow as disciples, we must be willing to both tell them, and also to show them how to imitate Christ in the world. Now, we need to state clearly from the beginning that imitating Christ’ has nothing to do with trying to merit eternal life or ‘earn our salvation’. Salvation is by grace through faith. Living the life of a disciple (or imitating Christ) is to do with our sanctification (which is just a fancy name for the Holy Spirit’s work of making a disciple become more and more like Christ every day).
Children observe their parents and imitate them in behaviour and action. While that is true in our earthly families, it is equally true in our heavenly families; we imitate what we spend time observing and absorbing You can’t imitate a person if you don’t know anything about them, so we must learn all we can about Jesus from scripture and from spending time with him. Then we must put into practice everything we know about him.
Growing in Christlikeness means to completely submit to the authority and truth of Christ in all areas of our lives; we are to sacrifice our will to the will of God. In other words we are to do the things we see Jesus doing, and we are to avoid the things he avoids. We are to follow closely and learn from the master, then put what we learn into action.