Then he said to them all: “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me” (Luke 9:23 NIV).
‘The characteristic of a disciple is not that he does good things, but that he is good in motives, having been made good by the supernatural grace of God. The only thing that exceeds right-doing is right-being. Jesus is saying, “If you are My disciple, you must be right not only in your actions, but also in your motives, your aspirations, and in the deep recesses of the thoughts of your mind.”’ Oswald Chambers, ‘My Utmost For His Highest’ July 24
Below are some of the characteristics of a true disciple following Jesus
Being Born Again:
Jesus replied, “Very truly I tell you, no one can see the kingdom of God unless they are born again” (John 3:3 NIV).
Before being born again we live out of the desires and lust of our carnal nature; pride, complacency, greed, lust, envy, jealousy, self-centeredness, hypocrisy, conditions, manipulation, deceitfulness, rebellion, retaliation, burst of anger, fear, control and many other behaviors that lead to division and destruction (Mark 7:20-23). Our carnal nature will never lead us to unity and intimacy with Christ, and will never lead us to the abundant life (John 10:10b). It will, however lead us to sensationalism, emotionalism, intellectualism, materialism, performance, enlightenment, self-realization, legalism, imitation, and religion. “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven” (Matthew 5:3 NIV). Until we reach this place of poverty we will never truly surrender our old nature to God. You say, ‘I am rich; I have acquired wealth and do not need a thing.’ “But you do not realize that you are wretched, pitiful, poor, blind and naked” (Revelation 3:17 NIV). Also read Romans 7:18. I know that I am born again when my soul pants for Jesus. When Jesus becomes the love of my life. When I get to the end of myself (John 3:30). When my priority is to exalt Him and His righteousness in all that I am and all that I do.
Being A Person That Prays Continually:
“Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints” (Ephesians 6:18 KJV).
Prayer was demonstrated over and over in Scripture by Jesus to His followers (Matthew 6:9-13). He not only taught them how important prayer is but exemplified it (Mark 1:35). Prayer creates a deeper connection. It’s spending quiet, intimate time with God. Speaking, listening and worshipping on deeper levels. We draw closer to God through prayer. Although there is deep theological meaning to prayer, it doesn’t have to be something that is complicated and difficult. The most powerful prayers I’ve ever heard have come by way of children.
Being A Person Of Faith:
“But without faith is is impossible to please him: for he who cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him” (Hebrews 11:6 KJV).
If we are to be true followers of Jesus we must believe wholeheartedly in His word and walking in great faith relying on Jesus and who He says He is, and who He says we are.
Being Humble And Obedient To God’s Word:
‘The golden rule to follow to obtain spiritual understanding is not one of intellectual pursuit, but one of obedience.’ Oswald Chambers, ‘My Utmost For His Highest’ July 27
Following Jesus takes humility and humility leads to obedience. Without these you will lose sight of Jesus. We must have the same attitude as Jesus. “Instead, he gave up his divine privileges; he took the humble position of a slave and was born as a human being. When he appeared in human form, he humbled himself in obedience to God and died as a criminal’s death on a cross” (Philippians 2:7,8 NLT). It takes this kind of attitude to truly follow Jesus.
Loving One Another:
“By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another” (John 13:35 NIV).
A true follower of Jesus puts love above all. “So now these three remain; faith, hope and love. But the greatest is love” (1 Corinthians 13:13 NIV).
“A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another” (John 13:34 NIV).
‘If we want to move faith from our heads to our hearts, we must fall in love with Jesus.’ Glynnis Whitwer
If we desire to follow Jesus He must be the love of our lives. As in Psalm 42 we must hunger, thirst, pant and put our faith, hope and love in Jesus. “As a deer pants for streams of water, so my soul pants for you, my God. My soul thirsts for the living God. When can I go and meet with God?” (Psalm 42:1,2 NIV).
“Give praise to the Lord, proclaim His name; make known among the nations what He has done” (Psalm 105:1 NIV).
The fruit of a true follower of Jesus is going to the world proclaiming the Gospel, even if it’s a one on one testimony of your conversion. Then I heard a voice of the Lord saying, “Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?” And I said, “Here am I. Send me!” (Isaiah 6:8 NIV). Sharing God with others comes natural to a true follower of Jesus. “Therefore go and make disciples of all nations” (Matthew: 19a NIV).
Whoever wants to serve me must follow me, so that my servant will be with me where I am. And my Father will honor anyone who serves me” (John 12:26 Good News Translation).
1 Peter 4:10 addresses the importance of serving. “Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms” (1 Peter 4:10 NIV). A true follower of Jesus will be serving others with gifts God has imparted to them with a cheerful heart. ‘To come to Christ costs you nothing, to follow Christ costs you something, to serve Christ will cost you everything.’ M. R. DeHaan
Suffering With Him:
“And if children, then heirs—heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, provided we suffer with him in order that we may also be glorified with Him” (Romans 8:17 ESV).
True followers of Jesus were called to suffer persecution. “Yes, and everyone who wants to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution” (2 Timothy 3:12 NLT). It’s the nature of Christ to proclaim good news to the poor, to restore sight to the blind and to set the oppressed free (Luke 4:18). “To this you were called, because Christ suffered for you, leaving you an example, that you should follow in his steps” (1 Peter 2:21 NIV).
‘Jesus didn’t invite us to become theologians or Bible scholars. He didn’t call us to become more religious. He didn’t ask us to join a club or a political action committee. He asked us to follow Him.’ Marc Alan Schelske