Today (and for the next one or two Word study posts), I would like to focus on what it means to be a disciple of Christ. I'm not only sharing this information with you, but I'm also learning it myself. I am not coming from a place of "expert," but rather as a friend sharing what I've learned. I want to hear your opinion as well. That's the point of this blog.
Being a disciple is more than accepting Christ as your Lord and Savior. The definition of disciple is "a learner; a pupil* (which is why the twelve men who followed Jesus were called "disciples"). They were learning from the Master on how to live a Christ-like life. Notice the definition does not say "one who has been taught" or "graduate." The definition implies a current existence. As a disciple, we are continually learning how to be like Jesus.
So, how can we be like Christ? One way is to love each other. Jesus says in John 13:34 - 35 "A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. 35 By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another."
Let's look at how he loved us. In John 3:16, Jesus says: "For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life." He came to die for us so that we may gain eternal life. I cannot think of a better example of love. Jesus showed love to everyone, the leper, the adulteress, the tax collector, and those who wanted to kill Him. Even as the soldiers nailed Him to the cross, He prayed for them (Luke 23:34).
I am by no means perfect in this area. I too quickly speak words of hatred (it shames me to write that) towards those I may dislike (politicians come to mind - just as an example). If I want to be like Christ, I need to exhibit love towards those people. How? I can pray for them and pray for myself that God will show me how to love them. I can also keep my mouth shut.
What about you? What can you do to love others, even those who seem unlovable?
Next week: Abiding in Him
*Strong's Exhaustive Concordance: Greek Dictionary (3101 mathetes (pronounced math-ay-tes))