This is Joseph Mattera for God Today. I want to speak to you about being a disciple of Jesus Christ. Nowadays, there are so many different definitions of relationships with people that are empowering. We have people that are coaches, people that are mentors. Very few people, though, are disciplers. Many people say, “I don’t even know what that means and I don’t even know if I want to be a disciple.” So when we talk about coaching, we are just talking about someone who asks you questions so that you can answer those questions. They are not necessarily giving you the answer but they are trying to get you to think about what the answer is and what I want to do with my life. A mentor is somebody that gives you advice.
So what is a discipler? Jesus was able to give someone who was a rough fisherman like Peter, a compulsive, impulsive fisherman, and turns him into the greatest leader of the world. The early church leader, in just a 3 year period. How did He do that?
In Mark chapter 1, this is what He said to those He wanted to follow Him. He said, “Come follow me, and I will make you [and in the Greek it is ‘to become’] a fisher of men.” So “to become” is important because that implies a process. Jesus didn’t just lay hands on somebody and make them an apostle. He said they had to become somebody. This means that there was a beginning, a process that culminated in them becoming a fisher of men. A fisher of men has to do with having influence. You have to be able to fish for men, draw them to yourself with respect to your assignment. And so, if we follow the assignment God has given us, we will have God-given influence. When we go outside of that assignment, we will not have the maximization of influence God has called us to have.
What does it mean to become something? First of all, we have to understand that Jesus called people together. There were at least 12, and then there were another 70. It was the beginning stages of the local church. That is to say, you cannot become what God has called you to be without a community. As a matter of fact, Paul says, in 1 Corinthians 12, that “the eye cannot say to the hand ‘because I don’t hold things or because I don’t see things I am not in need of you.’” He equates Christ-followers as a part of what is called the Body of Christ. Meaning, we are all individual members and in the same way, I cut off my finger and throw it, I cannot expect it to continue to function. My finger has to be connected to the hand, which is connected to the wrist, which is connected to the elbow, etc.
We need to understand that I need the rest of the Body of Christ, at least the local church, in order to function. That means Jesus was able to process people within the cauldron of human tension, without interaction you can’t really mature. You really can’t understand how your gifts mingle with other gifts. Other People will recognize how God has called you through interacting with you. If you are by yourself, if you are outside a local church, just watching a sermon once in a while, just going on the internet to get a message, you will never be able to walk in your God-given potential and in the assignment God has given you.
Jesus said, “Follow me and I will make you to become…” It is not instant. In between the calling and the fulfillment of that calling, there is a process. Sometimes that process involves pain. It definitely involves having many tests and trials in our lives. It is not what happens to you, it is what happens in you that matters in God’s Kingdom. That is to say, how we respond to the pressures and challenges of life are also how we become a true disciple. You can get all the knowledge you want. It is not the accumulation of knowledge that matters, it is putting that knowledge into practice and seeing an internal transformation. I hope you will choose, today, to become a disciple of Christ. And even make disciples. This is Joseph Mattera signing off with God Today.