Real Life Discipleship Qualities: Love, Sacrifice & Profound Impact

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What does real-life discipleship truly look like in our modern society? 

In 21st century, real-life discipleship becomes a transformative journey of faith, where individuals actively embrace the teachings and values of Christianity in their everyday lives. 

It goes beyond mere theoretical knowledge and encompasses a commitment to love, serve, and follow the example of Jesus Christ. 

Real-life discipleship is about walking the path of faith authentically, making sacrifices, and engaging in meaningful relationships to nurture a vibrant Christian community.

In this post, we will embark on a journey to understand the essence of real-life discipleship. 

So, join us as we explore the life of a disciple. 

What is Real-Life Discipleship?

real life discipleship

Real-life discipleship in the Christian faith is more than a theoretical concept; it’s a transformative journey of personal growth through mentorship. 

It involves not only learning about Christ’s teachings but also actively applying them in daily life. 

In the Bible, the relationship between the apostle Paul and his disciple Timothy provides a compelling example of real-life discipleship. 

Paul didn’t just preach to Timothy; he invested deeply in his spiritual development. 

He mentored Timothy, guiding him through the challenges and responsibilities of ministry.

Timothy was a young believer, and Paul recognized his potential. 

He saw Timothy’s commitment to Christ and his desire to serve the church. 

This mentorship wasn’t a mere exchange of information but a profound shaping of character and calling.

Real-life discipleship often involves learning through imitation. 

Just as Timothy imitated Paul’s faith and ministry, Christians today strive to imitate the life and teachings of Jesus. 

“And you should imitate me, just as I imitate Christ.” 1 Corinthians 11:1

Discipleship means actively living out the principles of love, compassion, and servitude that Jesus exemplified.

Today, real-life discipleship takes various forms. 

It can involve older, more experienced believers mentoring newer Christians in areas like prayer, Bible study, and service.

It can also be seen in small groups, where members support each other in living out their faith.

 In the workplace, discipleship may involve modeling Christ-like behavior and values.

In essence, real-life discipleship means actively engaging in the transformative process of becoming more Christ-like in character and actions.

It encompasses mentorship, learning through imitation, accountability, and the passing on of faith from one generation to the next. 

It is a vibrant, practical, and enduring expression of Christian faith that empowers individuals to live out the teachings of Jesus in their daily lives.

To define and discover more on what a true disciple of Christ looks like check out our article on 10 Qualities to Embody as a Disciple.

Accountability And Growth

In the early Christian community, discipleship was deeply rooted in the principles of accountability and mutual growth. 

This foundation of accountability was pivotal in fostering a Christ-centered life among believers.

Let’s delve deeper into the significance of accountability within real-life discipleship and how it was cultivated through authenticity, creating an atmosphere free from judgment, shame, or condemnation.

In the context of the early Christian community, accountability was the pillar upon which their faith journey rested. 

Disciples held each other accountable for living out the teachings of Christ. 

This meant not only hearing the Word but actively practicing it in their daily lives.

They recognized that genuine transformation required not just knowing the right path but actually walking on it.

So, how do we foster an atmosphere of accountability?

Open, Honest, and Transparent Communication: Discipleship thrives on open, honest, and transparent communication. Believers should not feel the need to put on masks to hide their shortcomings; they should find relationships where they can acknowledge their weaknesses and seek support and guidance from their fellow disciples. This can be fostered through Discipleship groups where support is given from other disciples but also the discipler of the group.

No Room for Judgment or Condemnation: The heart of authentic discipleship is the absence of judgment, shame, or condemnation. Instead of pointing fingers, believers should extend grace and be open to extend understanding to one another. If a disciple stumbles, the response is not condemnation but a helping and guiding hand to get back on track.

Gathering for Mutual Encouragement:
Believers should not walk their faith journeys alone. They should be encouraged to gather in small communities for mutual encouragement, study, and prayer. These gatherings become the breeding ground for shared growth.

Living a Christ-Centered Life: The primary goal of this shared accountability and growth is to embrace a Christ-centered life. Believers should aspire to embody Jesus as a disciple and not just in their words but also in their deeds.

Accountability within real-life discipleship, as exemplified in the early Christian community, was the key to genuine transformation.

Disciples mutually encouraged one another and embraced shared growth as they walked the path of faith together.

This model of accountability and authenticity remains a timeless blueprint for effective discipleship in the Christian faith.

The Cost of Real Life Discipleship

real life discipleship

To grasp the true essence of discipleship, we need not look further than the Bible. 

The life of Jesus and His disciples provides a vivid blueprint of what discipleship looks like in practice. 

Think of how Jesus called ordinary fishermen to become fishers of men.

Discipleship is not about acquiring knowledge; it’s about a profound heart transformation. 

It’s about moving from knowing to experiencing, from head knowledge to heart experience. 

When we delve into the depths of discipleship, we open our hearts to God’s transformative power.

Real-life discipleship comes at a cost. 

It’s not always an easy road, and it requires sacrificing worldly comforts for the sake of following Jesus. 

As we examine the cost, we discover that the rewards far outweigh the sacrifices.

Let’s delve into this concept, drawing insights from the Bible and relevant scriptures.

“And whoever does not carry their cross and follow me cannot be my disciple.” Luke 14:27 (NIV)

This verse from the Gospel of Luke underscores the significant nature of discipleship. 

Carrying one’s cross symbolizes the willingness to endure hardship and even persecution for the sake of following Jesus. 

It sets the tone for understanding that discipleship entails a level of sacrifice that goes beyond mere convenience.

“Then he called the crowd to him along with his disciples and said: ‘Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me.'” Mark 8:34 (NIV)

In Mark’s Gospel, Jesus extends His call to discipleship to both His close followers and the crowd. 

He emphasizes the act of self-denial, a significant sacrifice, as well as the commitment to take up one’s cross. 

This act signifies a willingness to bear the burdens and challenges that come with following Him.

Bible verses about discipleship serve as enduring pillars of faith and commitment to discover more read our article: 50 Impacting Bible Verses about Discipleship.

Real-life discipleship often requires us to relinquish certain worldly comforts and attachments that may hinder our spiritual journey. 

These sacrifices can take various forms:

1. Sacrifice of Comfort

Disciples may need to step out of their comfort zones, facing unfamiliar challenges, and enduring discomfort for the sake of serving Christ. It might involve dedicating time to volunteer work, missions, or supporting the less fortunate.This should always be motivated by our love for others and not from a work based mindset.

2. Sacrifice of Personal Ambitions

Following Jesus may require individuals to adjust their personal ambitions and career goals in alignment with His teachings and mission. This can mean forgoing lucrative opportunities if they conflict with the values of the faith.

3. Sacrifice of Relationships

Discipleship may bring about changes in relationships as individuals navigate how their faith aligns with the values of their loved ones. There can be tensions or even losses in relationships as a result of following Jesus wholeheartedly. Let’s remind ourselves what Jesus instructed: 

“Anyone who loves their father or mother more than me is not worthy of me; anyone who loves their son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me.” Matthew 10:37

The Reward of Real Life Discipleship

While the cost of discipleship may seem daunting, the rewards far outweigh the sacrifices. 

These rewards are not just temporal but extend into eternity:

1. Eternal Life and Salvation

The ultimate reward of discipleship is eternal life and salvation through faith in Jesus Christ. This gift is priceless and transcends any worldly sacrifice.

2. A Deepened Relationship with God

Discipleship leads to a deeper, more intimate relationship with God. It offers spiritual growth and a profound sense of purpose that can’t be found in worldly pursuits.

3. Spiritual Fulfillment

The journey of discipleship brings a sense of spiritual fulfillment and inner peace that material possessions can never provide.

Real-life discipleship does come at a cost, requiring individuals to make sacrifices in various aspects of their lives. 

However, as exemplified in the scriptures and the life of Jesus Himself, these sacrifices are a small price to pay when compared to the immeasurable rewards of eternal life, a closer relationship with God, and profound spiritual fulfillment. 

Discipleship is a path marked by both challenges and blessings, ultimately leading to a life enriched by the grace and presence of Almighty God.

Maturity in Faith

real life discipleship

Another aspect of discipleship is to cultivate spiritual maturity within individuals. 

This spiritual maturity equips believers to navigate life’s challenges, make godly decisions, and effectively mentor others in their faith journey.

Here’s how this process unfolds:

1. Spiritual Growth Through Real Life Discipleship

Effective discipleship is like tending to a garden; it nurtures spiritual growth. Just as plants need the right conditions to flourish, individuals require guidance, knowledge, and spiritual nourishment to mature in their faith. Discipleship provides these essential elements.

2. Scripture: The Foundation of Maturity

Scripture plays a pivotal role in nurturing spiritual maturity. Regular study and meditation on the Word of God deepen one’s understanding of His character, His will, and His ways. This profound knowledge becomes the cornerstone upon which maturity is built.

3. Real Life Discipleship: Application of Faith

Maturity in faith is not confined to theoretical knowledge; it extends to the practical application of one’s beliefs. It means living out the teachings of Christ in everyday life. As individuals grow in maturity, they become adept at applying these principles consistently.

4. Real Life Disciples as Mentors

Mature believers are well-equipped to disciple others effectively. They can share their wisdom, experiences, and insights gained from their own spiritual journey. This mentorship role contributes to the growth of fellow believers and the strengthening of the faith community.

5. A Vibrant Faith Community

This reciprocal process of discipleship creates a dynamic and vibrant faith community. As mature disciples mentor others, the entire community benefits from the wisdom and spiritual depth within its ranks. This collective growth reinforces the bonds of faith and fosters a supportive environment for all believers.

The Bible provides numerous examples of spiritual maturity. 

Take, for instance, the transformation of Peter. 

From a brash and impulsive fisherman, he matured into a foundational figure in the early Christian church, as seen in his letters (1 Peter and 2 Peter). 

Similarly, the apostle Paul’s journey from persecutor to fervent follower of Christ exemplifies profound spiritual growth.

This maturity is rooted in a deep understanding of God’s Word, the practical application of faith, and the ability to mentor and be mentored effectively by others.

It transforms individuals and contributes to the vitality of the faith community, ultimately reflecting the image of Christ in their lives.

How to Find a Discipler

Finding the right discipler is a crucial step in your journey of faith and growth in discipleship.

A discipler is someone who will guide, mentor, and spiritually nurture you in your walk with Christ. 

Here are key aspects to consider when seeking a discipler:

1. Identify the Qualities of an Effective Real Life Discipler

When searching for a discipler, look for individuals who exhibit the following qualities:

Passion for Discipleship: A genuine passion for discipleship is a must. Seek someone who is enthusiastic about helping others grow in their faith and has a heart for mentoring.

Deep Spiritual Walk: Look for someone with a deep and mature relationship with God. A discipler should serve as a spiritual role model and an example on how to walk in Christ-likeness – their own faith journey should be evidence of this.

Knowledge of Scripture: A strong understanding of the Bible is essential. Your discipler should be well-versed in scripture and able to provide solid biblical guidance.

Commitment to Accountability: A discipler should hold you accountable for your spiritual growth. They should be willing to ask tough questions, provide encouragement, and support you in your walk with Christ.

Producing Fruit: When looking to engage in a mentoring relationship such as discipleship one of the key areas to look for should be fruit. We are told in scripture what the fruits of the spirit are and we should seek these out and see examples of one living and embodying these fruits before we enter into that relationship. 

2. Pray for Guidance

Above all, seek God’s guidance in your search for a discipler. 

Pray for wisdom and discernment to lead you to the right person. 

Trust that God will guide you to someone who will help nurture your faith and spiritual growth.

Once you identify a potential discipler, take the time to build a relationship. 

Engage in conversations, attend their teachings or group sessions, and get to know them on a personal level. 

Building a rapport and trust is crucial for a fruitful discipleship relationship.

The Real Life Discipleship Process

Discipleship involves a process of love, education, equipping, and deployment. 

Love is the foundation that breaks down barriers, making education and equipping possible. 

Whereas deploying disciples ensures the multiplication of faith.

Let’s look at how this can be achieved:

The Power of Love

Love is the key that unlocks the hearts of disciples.

 It disarms defensive armor, shame, guilt, and trauma. 

Toxic discipleship methods, such as shame or judgment, only hinder growth. 

Love is the antidote.

John 13:35 (NIV) emphasizes the significance of love in discipleship:

“By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”

This verse underscores the profound impact of love within the faith community. 

It not only characterizes disciples of Christ but also serves as a powerful testimony to the world. 

Love is not just a virtue; it’s a defining mark of authentic discipleship. 

As we love one another, we demonstrate the transformative power of Christ’s love in our lives and invite others to experience it as well.

Real Life Discipleship Servant Leadership

In discipleship, embracing a servant’s heart is paramount. 

As mentors, we are called to adopt the posture of a servant, selflessly devoting ourselves to the growth and well-being of those we disciple. 

This approach not only supports their spiritual journey but also fosters a nurturing and empowering environment for their development.

Mark 10:45 (NIV) reinforces the concept of servant leadership:

“For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”

This scripture, spoken by Jesus Himself, highlights the core principle of servant leadership within discipleship. 

Just as Jesus humbly served and sacrificed for the sake of others, disciples and mentors alike are called to follow His example. 

Through selfless service and a willingness to sacrifice, we demonstrate the transformative love of Christ and create an atmosphere of genuine care and support in the discipleship relationship.

The Role of the Holy Spirit

The strength to live a life that mirrors Jesus comes from the Holy Spirit. 

In the discipleship journey, age is not the determining factor; rather, it’s the willingness to yield to the Spirit’s guidance and empowerment. 

Understanding the pivotal role of the Holy Spirit in discipleship is essential to a thriving faith journey.

Galatians 5:25 (NIV) underscores the significance of walking in step with the Holy Spirit:

“Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit.”

This verse reminds us that our Christian walk is intrinsically tied to the Holy Spirit. 

Discipleship involves aligning our lives with the Spirit’s leading, allowing Him to guide our thoughts, actions, and decisions. 

Regardless of age or experience, every disciple can tap into the Spirit’s power to live a life that reflects the character and teachings of Jesus. 

It’s through this partnership with the Holy Spirit that disciples experience transformation and become effective in their journey of faith.

To discover more about the importance of Discipleship in modem society, check out our post on The Essentials Of Discipleship.

Toxic Real Life Discipleship Relationship

Unfortunately, in the area of Discipleship there exists potential for toxic dynamics that hinder rather than facilitate growth and it’s important that we carry the discernment to avoid these types of relationships but also work on improving any areas where we fall short in these toxic communication skills.

Negative communication is a primary culprit in undermining the very essence of discipleship. 

To cultivate a healthy and fruitful mentorship, it’s crucial to recognize and eliminate these toxic qualities:

Shaming Language or Behavior: Shaming language or behavior tears down instead of building up. It induces feelings of guilt, inadequacy, and unworthiness in the disciple. Discipleship should never be a platform for shame but a space for grace and growth.

Blaming Language or Behavior: Blaming shifts responsibility and fails to acknowledge the complexity of human experiences. When a discipler resorts to blaming language or behavior, it perpetuates a culture of defensiveness rather than fostering an environment of open learning.

Guilting Language or Behavior: Guilt should never be used as a tool for motivation in discipleship. Employing guilting language or behavior manipulates emotions and can lead to insincere actions. True transformation arises from a heart willingly responding to love, not from guilt-induced compliance.

Judging/Condemning Language or Behavior: Passing judgment and condemnation stifles the growth of a disciple. It creates an atmosphere of fear and mistrust, preventing individuals from opening up about their struggles and doubts. True discipleship thrives in an environment of acceptance and understanding.

To encompass a nurturing and effective discipleship relationship, it is imperative to recognize and eliminate these toxic qualities. 

Instead, replace them with communication that is grounded in love, grace, and empathy, creating an atmosphere where disciples can freely explore their faith, seek guidance, and grow in their relationship with God.

In conclusion, real-life discipleship isn’t an abstract concept; it’s a vibrant, transformative reality.

It has the power to breathe life into weary hearts, foster love in its purest form, and empower believers to carry forward Christ’s eternal mission.

While it may require sacrifices, both big and small, the immeasurable rewards of discipleship are a testament to the profound impact it has on individual lives and the larger community of faith. 

We’d love to hear from you in the comments below. Let us know your thoughts and experiences of real life discipleship. 

Real Life Discipleship: FAQs

Q: Is discipleship only for pastors and church leaders?

No, discipleship is for every believer, regardless of their role within the church.

Q2: What if I’m not comfortable discussing my struggles in a discipleship group?

Creating a safe and loving environment is crucial in discipleship. If you’re uncomfortable, communicate your concerns with your group leader.

Q3: Can I be a disciple and a mentor simultaneously?

Yes, the best scenario involves continuous discipleship and being under discipleship yourself.

Q4: How can I find a mentor for discipleship?

Look for someone respected within the Christian community, someone who embodies the qualities you aspire to.

Q5: What’s the difference between the masses and disciples in Jesus’ time?

The masses received generalized teaching, while disciples received personalized training and accountability from Jesus.

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