When the word disciple is mentioned many just assume you’re talking about a disciple of Jesus Christ especially when used within the context of a church.
I have come across two types of disciples in my Christian life- a religious disciple and a true disciple of Jesus Christ.
Too often people think that becoming a Christian involves first becoming Religious- first joining a denominational church. Rather than becoming a follower of Jesus Christ, we misguidedly become a Methodist Christian or an Anglican Christian or some other religious denomination.
Religious disciples are very good at reading and following the instructions of their denomination than the bible. Religious disciples become the police officers of their church enforcing the Do’s and Don’ts. I saw a typical religious disciple in a movie called “The Fighting Temptations.” She was insisting that people had to be baptised before joining the church choir. What is wrong with allowing people to join a choir before deciding to be baptised? Again, when the choir was about to perform in a choral competition she insisted that individual members confess their sins before going on stage.
Religious disciples are very good at riding on the moral horse at the least opportunity. They are like “Thank you Lord that I’m not like this tax collector sinner”. Another character trait of religious disciples is that the word change is like a dirty word to them. A mere mention attracts strange stares. What is wrong with the way we have always done it? They would argue. They will tell you that they have been in the church for such a long time and that is the way they have always done things.
I am not in any way suggesting that churches shouldn’t have rules and by-laws. My concern is when such rules are administered much to the detriment of the kingdom of God.
There will be more joy and blessing to the church and society at large if many people don’t sign up to become religious disciples. Their attitude keeps many away from the doors of the church, thus preventing them from coming to know our Lord Jesus Christ.
A true disciple of Christ on the other hand, is one who learns to think and acts like a real follower of Christ. A true disciple of Christ looks beyond the church walls. Such people do not exist to serve the institution church; rather, they serve the community in practical ways to convince people of God’s love for the world. Such people put Christ first before the church. True disciple of Christ are not denominational or church bound, i.e. they will be ready to team up with like minded people in any way that will bring glory to Christ. Therefore, in making a decision their main concern will be whether God will be pleased with that decision and not whether it fits in with the church rules. Instead of being tied up with rules, true Disciples of Christ use their conscience and the power of the Holy Spirit in making decisions.
A true disciple of Christ is what our society needs today. Our Lord Jesus Christ will be delighted to see you sign up to be His disciple.