Being a disciple ain’t easy.
But to be fair to Jesus, He never said it would be. In fact, He straight up told us that it would difficult:
“In the world you will have tribulation.” (John 16:33)
“If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me.” (Mark 8:34)
“If anyone comes to me and does not hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes, and even his own life, he cannot be my disciple. Whoever does not bear his own cross and come after me cannot be my disciple. So therefore, any one of you who does not renounce all that he has cannot be my disciple.” (Luke 14:26-27, 30)
The great disciple Peter told us that Christ left us an example of suffering injustice well so that we might follow in His steps (I Peter 2:18-25).
The apostle Paul told us that “all who desire to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted.” (II Timothy 3:12). And again, he and Barnabas said “that through many tribulation we must enter the kingdom of God.“
Yep, this Christian life, this discipleship is challenging, for sure. But what is it? What does it mean to be a disciple? Well, here’s one way to explain it:
A Christian disciple is a learning, believing, and worshiping follower of Jesus Christ.
Two important things to note here are:
- These actions (i.e., learning, believing, worshiping, and following) are not optional. If you don’t do these things, then you are not a disciple of Jesus Christ.
- These actions are difficult. We need help. We need help in learning more about Jesus, trusting Him more, worshiping Him more fully, and following Him more faithfully in every area of our lives. We need God’s grace and we need God’s Spirit. And praise the Lord, He has promised us these! But what else do we need? How will is grace come by His Spirit? Well, we need God’s Word (and all of the spiritual disciplines) and we need God’s people. And sometimes it is helpful to have some practical ideas to engage with God’s people, in God’s Word, and in all of the spiritual disciplines.
So since we are taking a break from our Peine Families this summer, here are some practical ideas for intentional discipleship as you possibly explore new paths/ways of growing in your love for, faith in, and submission to Jesus this summer:
Practical Ideas for Intentional Discipleship
- Meet with one or two others for weekly or bi-weekly encouragement, accountability, prayer, and study of the Bible or a good Biblically-based book (see below for suggestions).
- Once a week or once a month invite a different person or family over for dinner just to get to know and encourage them.
- Read and pray a “Valley of Vision” prayer everyday.
- Read and then rewrite each Psalm as a personal prayer.
- Read and then rewrite each Proverb in your own words and/or write down what each Proverb says about God.
- Watch a LAB (or 3 or 5 or 10).
- Listen to a sermon or conference series of messages:
- Read one or more of the following books:
- Indescribable, by Giglio and Redman
- Humility, by Mahaney
- Seeing and Savoring Jesus Christ, by Piper
- Knowing God, by Packer
- The Gospel and Personal Evangelism, by Dever
- New Morning Mercies, by Tripp
- What Did You Expect: Redeeming the Realities of Marriage, by Tripp
- Today’s Gospel: Authentic or Synthetic?, by Chantry
- All Things for Good, by Watson
- Tactics, by Koukl
- Spiritual Disciplines of the Christian Life, by Whitney
- The Difficult Doctrine of the Love of God, by Carson
- Morning and Evening, by Spurgeon
- The Hidden Smile of God: The Fruit of Affliction in the Lives of John Bunyan, William Cowper, and David Brainerd, by Piper
- The Consequences of Ideas, by Sproul
- Memorize the books of the Bible in order.
- Memorize a book, section, or passage of the Bible.
- Memorize the Apostle’s Creed, The Lord’s Prayer, and/or the 10 Commandments.
- Memorize a Catechism (e.g., Heidelberg, New City, A Baptist Catechism).
- Write an outline of a book, section, chapter, or passage of Scripture.
- Read through an entire book of the Bible in one sitting.
- Make prayer cards or keep a prayer journal, asking people how you can be praying for them, and then follow up.
- Study through a systematic theology book with others.
- Pick a certain sin you’re struggling with or particular theological issue you want to understand more and prayerfully read through a book about it and meet to discuss it with a friend each week (Ask a pastor for help on a book on a certain issue/topic).
- Volunteer locally with a friend, your family, or PF to serve others in our community (e.g., LINC, Crisis Nursery, etc).
- Write out and memorize a simple, sharable meta-narrative/overarching story-line of the Bible (i.e., Creation, Fall, Redemption, Consummation) with bullet points under each main heading, then ask the Lord to give you opportunities to share it with others.
- Read every book of the Bible that has 10 or less chapters in them (each in one sitting).