Becoming More Like Jesus

June 04, 2017

I never read Lord of the Flies, but I remember watching the movie in middle school and I’ve never forgotten the scene where Piggy died because one of the kids from Jack’s tribe pushed a huge rock off a ledge onto his head. That scene encapsulates the entire story for me. Those kids, left to themselves with little life experience and no adult guidance led them down a dangerous and destructive path. Sadly, this may be a little like what is going on in the lives of many Christians today. Without discipleship, Christians are left without any spiritual guidance and this can be dangerous and destructive.

The heartbeat of the church as a whole is summed up in one word: “discipleship.” Jesus’ final command to the church was to go, make disciples, and baptize them. But what is discipleship? In his little book called Discipling, Mark Dever sums it up nicely as simply, “helping others to follow Jesus.” He goes on to explain that, “Discipling is deliberately doing spiritual good to someone so that he or she will be more like Christ.” This brief explanation lays out the key principles to good discipleship: selflessness and sanctification

Discipleship requires selflessness because it is the investment of your time and energy for someone else’s spiritual development and maturation. Good discipleship means that you are giving your time to others who are looking to grow spiritually. It’s not too dissimilar from parenting. Parents spend their days in the care of their children and constantly interested in their child’s all-around development. In discipleship, time is sacrificed with the express intent of aiding in someone else’s spiritual development.

“In the theological sense, things are sanctified when they are used for the purpose God intends. A human being is sanctified, therefore, when he or she lives according to God's design and purpose.” (Baker’s Evangelical Dictionary of Biblical Theology) That’s the goal of discipleship. Jesus makes this clear in his Great Commission when he defines the work of discipleship as, “teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you.” Discipleship is more than simply transferring information; it is the act of teaching others to live in obedience to God.

This happens when people sit together, open the Bible, and spend time in passages of the Bible, intentionally discussing things that stand out, questions that arise, how it applies to your life right now, etc. This takes planning and deliberate action, but the fruit of these efforts can be seen as individuals meet Christ and grow to be more like him day after day.