Five Elements of Discipleship

in: Devotional, Forgiving Day-by-Day

Grapevine stock-210

Scripture

John 15:4 (NLT)

“Remain in me, and I will remain in you. For a branch cannot produce fruit if it is severed from the vine, and you cannot be fruitful unless you remain in me.”

Consider

Are you a disciple of Christ? The word implies much more than belief in Christ, although that is a vital element. Discipleship means committing to a path that leads to one specific goal: to become like Christ. As disciples, we ask for the challenge and discomfort of having our parts rearranged, or even amputated, until the form of our life and the fiber of our character come to resemble the Christ we love.

The Scripture quote is taken from Jesus’ familiar discourse about God’s vineyard, where God the Father is the gardener, Jesus is the true vine, and we are the branches (15:1-8). Jesus uses the metaphor to teach his disciples about their calling and lays out discipleship in five basic elements.

Five Elements of Discipleship

  1. The Christ. “I am the true grapevine” (v. 1). – Discipleship begins with the master whom the disciples will follow. The Father established Jesus to be our master, our means for salvation, and our model for righteous living.
  2. Belief. “You have already been pruned and purified by the message I have given you” (v. 3). – In the moment when we come to faith, we are changed. The Holy Spirit takes residence within us, and we are stirred to love and follow Jesus.
  3. Dependence. “I am the vine, and you are the branches” (v. 5). – As disciples of Christ, we no longer draw wisdom and purpose from the world but from the true grapevine. Jesus Christ becomes the bread and wine we need for healthy living and spiritual vitality.
  4. Obedience. “If you remain in me and my words remain in you, you may ask for anything you want, and it will be granted” (v. 7). – As we draw from the true vine, God’s desires become ours. Surrendering our goals and energies to God’s good purpose becomes our joy and privilege.
  5. Fruit. “When you produce much fruit, you are my true disciples. This brings great glory to my Father” (v. 8). – Our goal is to become like Christ, but God’s goal is to bring all creation back into right relationship with its Creator. Jesus was sent for that purpose, and we are grafted into the Christ-vine for that same purpose—to bear fruit that will turn hearts toward God.

Pray

FATHER, I want to be a true and faithful disciple of Christ. Help me to welcome your discipline and instruction, especially when it is painful. Make me worthy, I pray, to bear the name and the image of Jesus. Help me to believe, to depend, and to obey so that I may produce your good fruit in my relationships and shine for your glory.

Reflect

Psalm 119:33-36; John 8:31-32

Ponder

What practices help you to “remain in Christ”?

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Green-Eyed Vision

in: Devotional, Forgiving Day-by-Day

Two Cats, One Fish-220

Scripture

Psalm 73:1-6 (TNIV)

Surely God is good to Israel, to those who are pure in heart.

But as for me, my feet had almost slipped; I had nearly lost my foothold. For I envied the arrogant when I saw the prosperity of the wicked.

They have no struggles; their bodies are healthy and strong. They are free from common human burdens; they are not plagued by human ills.

Therefore pride is their necklace; they clothe themselves with violence.

Consider

The psalmist brilliantly describes one of the chief problems with envy: It distorts our perceptions.

Be Wise About What is Good

in: Devotional, Forgiving Day-by-Day

Figure with Magnifier-210

Scripture

Romans 16:17-18 (TNIV)

I urge you, brothers and sisters, to watch out for those who cause divisions and put obstacles in your way that are contrary to the teaching you have learned. Keep away from them. For such people are not serving our Lord Christ, but their own appetites. By smooth talk and flattery they deceive the minds of naive people.

Consider

With the advent of social media and self-publishing, our world has exploded with tweets and blogs and self-help books that promise wisdom for modern living.

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