What do you think about when you hear the word discipleship? Do you think of a program to train new Christians in the faith? Do you think of one-on-one teaching, instructing them on the dos and don’ts of biblical life? Do you picture the Great Commission? To tell you the truth, I used to think of all these things, and in part, they all are disciplining, but they are not the heart of God’s intent in disciplining. Discipleship is not about winning the lost to Christ, building people up in the holiest faith, or taking the gospel to the nations – discipleship is about worshipping God. To simplify, discipleship is not about the method or the program but about giving God all the praise and glory we can gather.
From beginning to end, the Bible tells us that God desires us to recognize Him as the creator and worship Him. God created the human race for this purpose. Discipleship involves learning from God and following hard after Him.
Discipleship is not just about worshiping God but also about the mission of God. It is centered on Christ and becomes active, resulting in seeing the glory of the Lord spread abroad in other people’s lives. The main focus of discipleship is God and His glory, then naturally comes the pursuit and declaration of Him. It is out of our relationship with Him and our love for Him that entices us to tell others about Jesus. We are worshipping Jesus as we tell others. A good phrase that sums up discipleship is missional worship. We are on a mission for God as we pursue Him in exclaiming the wonders of what He has done and created. The mission is to reach others for His kingdom by explaining the miracles, signs, and wonders God has done in our lives, testifying to His glory.
Discipleship is meant for us to be in pursuit of God for all eternity. When we reach heaven, it will not be glorious because we have reached some fixed level of being, a state of blissful peace. On the contrary, it becomes magnificent because we will be free to run hard after God and serve Him without hindrance. This was God’s design for man when He put Adam and Eve in the garden before the Fall. It continues to be His desire for you, me, and every believer. As long as Jesus tarries, it will continue to be the desired outcome for every sinner to be saved by grace.
Many books explain discipleship methods, but few describe the theology of discipleship. In today’s culture that is losing its biblical memory, it is necessary to teach and re-teach the theology behind the action of discipleship. Without it, I am concerned that we will obey the Great Commission without the proper motivation in our hearts. This situation where the ‘grab it by the horns and obey’ isn’t as effective in discipleship as a true heart of worship that simply loves the Father. Jesus told us to “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and all your soul and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: Love your neighbor as yourself.” (Matthew 22: 37-39). Let’s worship and serve God with a heart motivated by love for Him.