At the conclusion of the book of Matthew, Jesus gave us what we call the Great Commission. In it, He told us how each of us can be an effective and devoted disciple of Jesus. The commission contains 2 assurances.
At the beginning of it, He said that He was given all authority in heaven and on earth. And at the end of it, He said, He would always be with us. Between those two statements, He laid out the foundation for effective discipleship.
Jesus came and told his disciples, “I have been given all authority in heaven and on earth. Therefore, go and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. Teach these new disciples to obey all the commands I have given you. And be sure of this: I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Matthew 28:18-20
Discipleship is a process that continually moves forward from the day we accepted Jesus as our Savior. It is not a course or study that we have taken. It is a lifestyle that we maintain. We shouldn’t have to tell people that we are disciples of Jesus. Others should be able to observe it in our spiritual development.
Spiritual development only comes through practicing spiritual disciplines. Things like time in God’s word, prayer, fellowship, worship, giving, witnessing, and serving. We are going to look at how each of these elements works together. How the work towards becoming an effective and devoted disciple of Jesus. Let’s start with the Word of God.
Peter and John helped a crippled man to his feet in Acts 3. Through that healing, Peter preached the Word of God to the gathered crowd. The basis of his message was Jesus along with Old Testament scriptures.
In Acts 4 they were brought before the Jewish Council. Peter again used the same method to proclaim the message to these leaders. Using the scriptures and Jesus, he said these words.
For Jesus is the one referred to in the Scriptures, where it says, ‘The stone that you builders rejected has now become the cornerstone. ’There is salvation in no one else! God has given no other name under heaven by which we must be saved. Acts 4:11-12
Some might ask, how does the Old Testament fit into our Christian lives? A related post called “Is The Law Of The Old Testament Still Valid?” will shed some light on that.
Of course today our scriptures are made up of the Old Testament that Peter used. Along with the New Testament that he helped to write. God’s Word instructs us in everything we need to know about being an effective and devoted disciple of Jesus.
God’s Decrees, Commandments, and Instructions
Psalm 119 talks about the benefits of the Word. In the first half of that Psalm the writer referenced to God’s decrees, commandments, and instructions about 45 times. Here is one portion of what he wrote.
Joyful are people of integrity who follow the instructions of the Lord. Joyful are those who obey his laws and search for him with all their hearts. They do not compromise with evil, and they walk only in his paths. Psalm 119:1-3
You can check out a related post I wrote on that Psalm called How Important Is It To Follow God’s Instructions? God made it clear also to Joshua that His Word was very important to his success.
Study this Book of Instruction continually. Meditate on it day and night so you will be sure to obey everything written in it. Only then will you prosper and succeed in all you do. Joshua 1:8
You can read a post featuring Joshua 1 called Do You Want To Be Successful In Everything You Do?
The Bible is the roadmap that teaches us what we believe and it reveals how we should live. Is that enough to keep us motivated to stay in His Word? Fulfilling the commission which Jesus gave us will require it.
It will guide us in all of these areas of life; prayer, fellowship, worship, giving, witnessing, and serving. You can read another related post called How to Stay Motivated to Read and Investigate God’s Word.
The Effective Prayer of a Devoted Disciple of Jesus
The Bible has much to say on the subject of communicating with God, which is called prayer. Jesus is one of our best examples of spending time talking with the Father. One of my favorite scripture verses on Jesus and prayer is in Mark 1.
Before daybreak the next morning, Jesus got up and went out to an isolated place to pray. Later Simon and the others went out to find him. When they found him, they said, “Everyone is looking for you.” Mark 1:35-37
Fortunately, we don’t have to try to find Jesus. He is not only a part of us but He is readily available to make sure our prayers and petitions reach heaven. Here is what Paul wrote about prayer to the Philippian church.
Don’t be pulled in different directions or worried about a thing. Be saturated in prayer throughout each day, offering your faith-filled requests before God with overflowing gratitude. Tell him every detail of your life, then God’s wonderful peace that transcends human understanding, will guard your heart and mind through Jesus Christ. Philippians 4:6-7 TPT
A related post called How To Receive Perfect Peace In An Imperfect Situation would be helpful to you.
God will often speak to us while we are praying if we let Him. Let me tell you what I mean by that. If we are doing all the talking God will not interrupt us. If we, however, take time to listen, we have a better chance of hearing Him.
God Will Send Us Confirmation
He will speak to us in different ways. He directs us through His Word and sometimes He speaks to our heart. If we aren’t sure that it was Him impressing something to us. He will often give us some sort of confirmation. Peter experienced a confirmation after he had a vision.
But the voice from heaven spoke again: ‘Do not call something unclean if God has made it clean.’ This happened three times before the sheet and all it contained was pulled back up to heaven. Just then three men who had been sent from Caesarea arrived at the house where we were staying. Acts 11:9-11
It didn’t take long for his vision to be explained and confirmed. Those three men came with the confirmation Peter needed. You can read about it in this related post called Do You Obey God The First Time He Speaks?
Devoted Christians Understand the Importance of Fellowship
Effective discipleship has to include fellowship with other believers. Jesus told us in the gospel of John our relationship with each other has to be based on love. It’s hard to show love to one another from a distance. The proof of our discipleship was explained by Jesus in John 13.
So now I am giving you a new commandment: Love each other. Just as I have loved you, you should love each other. Your love for one another will prove to the world that you are my disciples. John 13:34-35
The writer of Hebrews also encouraged us to practice continual fellowship. His instructions were based on motivating one another to acts of love and good works.
Let us think of ways to motivate one another to acts of love and good works. And let us not neglect our meeting together, as some people do, but encourage one another, especially now that the day of his return is drawing near. Hebrews 10:24-25
Serving One Another
Fellowship also includes serving others. The best way we can love God is by extending His loving service to fellow Christians and those outside of the body of Christ. Peter dedicated a portion of his first epistle to the subject of serving one another.
Most important of all, continue to show deep love for each other, for love covers a multitude of sins. Cheerfully share your home with those who need a meal or a place to stay. God has given each of you a gift from his great variety of spiritual gifts. Use them well to serve one another. . . . Then everything you do will bring glory to God through Jesus Christ. All glory and power to him forever and ever! Amen. 1 Peter 4:8-10,11
In the 3rd epistle of John, John commended Gaius for the love and kindness he showed to Christian teachers who were traveling through. You can read about this story in a post called Are Your Acts Of Love Endorsed By Others?
The Devoted Disciple Of Jesus Offers Effective Worship
Many Christians define worship as the Sunday morning church services they attend. Or the time during the service when they sing worship songs. Our worship of God is much more than that. It consists of a total commitment to God all the time.
It’s a commitment that helps us make every decision that we must make. A related post called How To Make A Total Commitment To Follow God will help you. This post also contains a portion of our personal testimony.
We aren’t expected to take on life all alone. No, the Holy Spirit is with us and in us. He is there to guide and influence our walk with the Lord. Look at what Paul wrote to the Galatian church. I also wrote about it in a post called How To Let The Holy Spirit Lead Your Life.
Since we are living by the Spirit, let us follow the Spirit’s leading in every part of our lives. Let us not become conceited, or provoke one another, or be jealous of one another. Galatians 5:25-26
The Holy Spirit’s Help
He, the Holy Spirit will help us to stand firm in the Lord. To know who we are in Him and who He is in us. Below are some posts worth reading on how we can depend on the Lord. They’ll point each of us to become a more effective and devoted disciple of Jesus.
- How To Live By God’s Standards
- How To Stand Firm on Godly Principles
- It’s Exciting To Believe God For The Unbelievable
Of course, worship does also include singing and praising God. It includes lifting holy hands or bowing before the Lord. It can be in the form of traditional or contemporary styles. Worship is offering yourself completely to God.
King David in Psalm 136 repeated 26 times the phrase, “His faithful love endures forever.” And 12 times “give thanks to the Lord, or give thanks to Him.” Read the post written about it called His Faithful Love Endures Forever.
Worship Includes Giving
Followers of Jesus need to understand that giving is done in obedience to God. It is not given to receive favors from the Lord, either by offering good deeds or giving money.
Check out this related post, Neither Wealth Nor Works Will Get Anyone To Heaven.
When it comes to money, we pay our tithes which is a mandate from God. When we do, then God said that He will pour out a blessing on us. Then we give of our offerings.
But you ask, ‘What do you mean? When did we ever cheat you?’ “You have cheated me of the tithes and offerings due to me. Bring all the tithes into the storehouse so there will be enough food in my Temple. If you do,” says the Lord of Heaven’s Armies, “I will open the windows of heaven for you. I will pour out a blessing so great you won’t have enough room to take it in! Try it! Put me to the test! Malachi 3:8,10
Your storehouse is your church. The tithe is ten percent of your income as God supplies. It is given as an undesignated offering to your church. Your offerings are above and beyond your tithes.
Read this related post called Where is the Best Place To Store Your Treasures?
Jesus Said “GO”
We have coved 5 of the six areas in our Christian walk that I mentioned at the beginning of this article. The 6th one is witnessing or evangelism. It is a key component in the first part of the Great Commission. It is the “go” part of the mandate that Jesus gave us.
I have a very detailed cornerstone post on evangelism. You can access it by going to this post, How To Reach Lost People For The Kingdom Of God. When sharing the message of Jesus with others, remember this simple but motivating fact.
There is salvation in no one else! God has given no other name under heaven by which we must be saved. That name is Jesus! Acts 4:12
Some of the Basics of an Effective and Devoted Disciple of Jesus
God will at times ask or nudge us to go somewhere or do something that makes us uncomfortable. My mind goes to the time when Jesus decided that He and His disciples were going to travel through Samaria. His followers were taught from their early childhood to dislike Samaritans.
Then He stayed out in the country near a well. He sent His disciples into the village to buy food. It had to be pretty uncomfortable for them. I wrote 2 different posts on the same verse at 2 different times. Take a look at the first one called, Being Out Of Our Comfort Zone To Benefit Others.
He was alone at the time because his disciples had gone into the village to buy some food. John 4:8
The other post I wrote has a similar title but just a little different. Where the first one focuses on other people. The second one focuses on us. Its title is When You’re Out of Your Comfort Zone, Trust God.
An Effective Devoted Disciple Of Jesus Exercises Faith
Speaking of trusting God, let’s talk about our faith. It takes faith to believe that Jesus died for us and is preparing a place in heaven for us. Why? So we can spend eternity with Him. Think about that for a moment.
We have never seen heaven. There are no brochures with pictures about it. Yet we believe it. We commit our lives so we can go there. With that said, aren’t there times, we have trouble living life right now by faith? Listen to what James told us.
For you know that when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow. So let it grow, for when your endurance is fully developed, you will be perfect and complete, needing nothing. James 1:3-4
If our faith fails then our endurance won’t grow. When that happens we begin to compromise our Christian stance. Instead of trusting God, we make excuses for Him. Check out this related post called Do You Either Blame God Or Make Excuses For Him?
God is looking for someone who loves Him and is willing to keep their faith no matter what is going on in their life. But He doesn’t expect us to go it alone. Jesus promised us help from the Advocate.
When the Father sends the Advocate as my representative—that is, the Holy Spirit—he will teach you everything and will remind you of everything I have told you. John 14:26
But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you. And you will be my witnesses, telling people about me everywhere—in Jerusalem, throughout Judea, in Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” Acts 1:8
You can read this related post called Does Your Faith Embrace Honesty And Boldness?
The bottom line here is, sometimes I think we make discipleship more complicated than we need to. It’s impossible to come up with a simple list. You know, like do this and this and this and this and you will be a disciple. There are two major components of discipleship.
The first is to live your life every moment of every day for the glory of God. Do everything you can, with the help of the Holy Spirit, to be in the center of God’s will. Let me give you one more post to check out, How To Know God’s Perfect Will For Your Life.
The other part of discipleship is to make more disciples. Teaching them to obey all the commands the Lord has given us. The strategy with that is to what I do, not do as I say. We must lead by example. Jesus did it and we must do as well.
Featured Image Photo by Faith Stock Photos
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