Family resemblance is a natural thing caused by the inherited DNA from our parents. But, growth does not just rely on natural traits. Rather, parents also train their children during their various stages of natural growth so that the result is a mature adult.
After one becomes a Christian by believing in Jesus Christ, they become children of God and begin to have godly traits. But, they are like new-born babies. They have a new life – The old is gone, the new has come. Just as a new-born baby needs to be nurtured and trained, so too the new Christian. (1 Peter 2:2-3)
Discipleship is a life-long process for every Christian, and not just for the new believer. Prayer is like breathing. Studying and memorizing the Bible is like eating and drinking. And there are other disciplines one must learn in order to think and act like Jesus.
CAUTION! Don’t believe that you can grow to be a healthy Christian by yourself. That is a kind of pride that will lead to your downfall. Instead, learning to be a member within God’s family, the church, and accepting the bumps and bruises to your ego that relationships bring, will help to make you more compassionate. In addition, God has a special place for you in the church body. Don’t deny the body your presence.
Just as you need us, we need you. In this part of our share pages, we will recommend training methods, resources, churches and small groups you can join. All of these resources will help you in your spiritual formation.
Discipleship: Strategic training that enables an individual to become a complete and competent follower of Christ (Barna).
Disciple: One who accepts and assists in spreading the doctrine of another (Webster) or someone who is a learner/follower who serves as an apprentice under the tutelage of a master (Barna). Connotes being prepared for a particular lifestyle.
Spiritual Formation: The process by which Christians are being conformed into the image of Christ for the sake of others (Mulholland).
How Spiritual Formation & Discipleship fit together: Discipleship is the intentional process by which one individual works with another to promote Spiritual Formation.
A Disciple of Christ is one who…
– Has accepted grace by faith—not works—through Christ. – Ephesians 2:8-10
– Is dedicated to the principles of faith (You can’t pass on what you don’t have). – Matthew 6:33, 1 Corinthians 15:3
– Obeys God’s laws and commands. Become both hearers and doers. – Acts 5:29, James 1:22
– Reflects light in darkness as God’s ambassadors. – Mark 5:18-19
– Lives to serve others. – Matthew 16:24-28
– Manifests a changed lifestyle in goals, choices, and relationships. – 2 Corinthians 5:17
– Grows and reproduces (Spiritual Fruit). – Matthew 28:19-20
A Disciple does NOT…
– Lose one’s identity and individuality. (There is great functional value in diversity!)
– Force one’s views and convictions on others. (Our method is the same as Christ. He preached. He taught, rebuked, and even warned. Then, he invited.)
– Isolates oneself from the world. (We belong to Christ. We are in the world to influence it. However, we are no longer of the world, nor belong to its fallen system.)
Disciples should become Disciple-makers
Christians are always learning to be like our Lord, Jesus Christ. That’s why we read the Bible, commentaries and Christian testimonies. We listen to sermons on Sunday. We participate in Bible Studies, and attend seminars and conferences. TurnONtheLight-Bowie.org has free Bible Study material on its Resources>Download Stuff page to help you grow. The spiritually mature go one step further. They become disciple-makers, teaching others to obey Christ’s commands (Matthew 28:19-20).
– You may decide to start with the Gospel of John Bible Study. There are a set of BLOG posts on this site to supplement your study of the Gospel of John.
– The LIVING AS THE LIGHT OF THE WORLD study material will help you to become a Lighthouse for your neighborhood.
Whatever you decide. Continue to become more and more like Jesus Christ until He comes again. Perhaps you are ready to start sharing your faith. Our Evangelism page offers some classic techniques.