articlesqa March 15, 2018 a disciple is
Ifeoluwapo Eleyinafe Article by Ifeoluwapo EleyinafeCreator and author of

Have you ever seen a paint­ing or a draw­ing? If you were to com­pare the paint­ing and pho­to­graph of the same same scene, you will no­tice that the artist “for­gets” to paint cer­tain de­tails and adds oth­er de­tails that aren’t present in the pho­to­graph. Why? Well, that is how peo­ple see. In or­der to see clear­ly, you must first be­come blind to every­thing you do not want to see. Hence, self­ish love is blind be­cause self­ish love can only see it­self. But Chris­t­ian love sees all by see­ing only Je­sus.

In a sim­i­lar way, un­der the guid­ance of the Bible, I have been us­ing words to paint a pic­ture of the dis­ci­ple. In a dis­ci­ple is not, I carved away every­thing that doesn’t be­long in the paint­ing of a dis­ci­ple. By do­ing this, we dis­cov­ered that even when look­ing di­rect­ly at His dis­ci­ple, you should only see Je­sus Christ. A dis­ci­ple is al­ways busy re­mov­ing her­self from the pic­ture so that Christ may be seen. And so we con­clud­ed by say­ing, “a dis­ci­ple is not.” Now that our can­vas is clear, let us look in Christ to see what a dis­ci­ple is.

What is a Dis­ci­ple?

Colos­sians 3:3 makes it clear that a dis­ci­ple is not ... so that Christ may be seen. There­fore, when you look at a dis­ci­ple of Je­sus, you should only see Je­sus Christ. Yet by the same verse, when you see Je­sus Christ, you will see the dis­ci­ple. So then it is fair to ask, “Who is a dis­ci­ple of Je­sus Christ?”

You may choose to look it up in a dic­tio­nary but the de­f­i­n­i­tion you find will be too gen­er­al. Let us look again at John 15:1-10. By read­ing it we come to un­der­stand who a dis­ci­ple is. “While Je­sus Humbly Abides in him, a dis­ci­ple humbly abides in Je­sus and pro­duces fruit”. Read John 15:1-10 and then read read our de­f­i­n­i­tion again. See how it fits. Is this de­f­i­n­i­tion some­thing you can ap­ply to your life?

A few things to note. 1 The de­f­i­n­i­tion puts Je­sus first. The dis­ci­ple is not first. 2 The de­f­i­n­i­tion of a dis­ci­ple de­scribes a re­la­tion­ship and NOT a check­list of rules. A dis­ci­ple is de­fined only in the dance be­tween her­self and her Lord. 3 The re­la­tion­ship be­tween the dis­ci­ple and Je­sus pro­duces fruit the way a seed grows into a tree. All the thick trunk and branch­es of the tree is con­tained in the seed. Enough wa­ter, sun­light and fer­til­iz­er and the seed will be­come a tree no mat­ter what. So also fruit is bound up in our re­la­tion­ship with Je­sus Christ. Nur­ture the re­la­tion­ship with Je­sus Christ and fruit hap­pens. Yet no one re­moves the seed from the soil and still ex­pects the tree to still grow. So also, fail­ure to put the re­la­tion­ship with Je­sus first guar­an­tees that fruit will NOT be pro­duced.


Again in our de­f­i­n­i­tion is this thing about how Je­sus humbly abides in us. Now it is clear that only by Om­nipo­tent Hu­mil­i­ty could the Cre­ator live in me. He has a throne in heav­en, is en­throned in the prais­es of His peo­ple and yet He De­sires to live in me, a manger, a shack with no walls. Tru­ly Je­sus Christ Humbly Abides in us. Fur­ther­more, He is not force­ful and does not im­pose Him­self. He Who Leads an army of an­gels could eas­i­ly come in my heart and force­ful­ly take over. And some­times I wish He would. But Je­sus is NOT a dev­il who tempts in or­der to en­slave. No. Je­sus only takes pos­ses­sion of those who will­ing­ly sur­ren­der to Him. There­fore, in both Pres­ence and Be­hav­ior, our Holy Lord Je­sus Christ Humbly Abides in His dis­ci­ples.

But how can a dis­ci­ple humbly abide in his Mas­ter? It seems easy to say, “God is heav­en and I am on earth, so I’ll let my words be few.” And in truth, with enough med­i­ta­tion, this is more than suf­fi­cient. But this is not the age of med­i­ta­tion. In this day and age, we have a pride­ful mis­un­der­stand­ing of hu­mil­i­ty. You may have heard peo­ple say that be­ing hum­ble means be­ing low or low­ly or not think­ing high­ly of your­self. That is a very bib­li­cal de­f­i­n­i­tion. But this is only one side of the de­f­i­n­i­tion. The oth­er side is this: “Hu­mil­i­ty means lift­ing God up.” It is im­por­tant that we take off our crowns but only so that we of­fer those crowns to Je­sus Christ. A Chris­t­ian only es­teems her­self low­ly be­cause she gives away her es­teem to Je­sus Christ.

Yet of­ten we pre­fer to jump to one side or the oth­er of hu­mil­i­ty. In pride, we think lit­tle of our­selves and refuse to hear what Je­sus says about us. Or on the oth­er side, we have no prob­lem lift­ing up Je­sus ... so long as it helps us feel like we’re bet­ter than every­one else. When you lose your self es­teem but refuse to es­teem Je­sus Christ, you still think too high­ly of your­self. This is ev­i­dent in peo­ple who, al­though low­ly and hurt­ing, still refuse the up­lift­ing em­brace of Je­sus Christ. At the same time, if see­ing Je­sus does not make you aware of how low you are, then you have not seen Je­sus but in­stead you have seen a fig­ment of your imag­i­na­tion. In oth­er words, you still high­ly es­teem your­self. This is ev­i­dent in peo­ple who think they are Chris­tians and yet they do not trem­ble by obey­ing His Word.

How then can a dis­ci­ple of Je­sus Christ be hum­ble? Sim­ple. First as a dis­ci­ple, I must un­der­stand that I do not own me 1 Corinthi­ans 6:19-20. In fact, I have died and the per­son I used to be is gone Colos­sians 3:3. Like the ser­vant of the Cen­tu­ri­on, I live, speak and move only through the Com­mand of Je­sus Christ Matthew 8:8. A dis­ci­ple re­fus­es to be him­self by seek­ing to em­u­late Je­sus Christ. He re­fus­es the hell of try­ing to be his own im­age and in­stead strives to be the im­age of Je­sus Christ. A dis­ci­ple does not say her own words. In­stead, she lets Je­sus speak through her. She does not do what she wants. In­stead, she strives to do only what Je­sus is do­ing. If there is any place where you are do­ing what you want the way you want and not sub­mit­ting to the com­mand of Je­sus Christ then you are not be­ing a dis­ci­ple and you must re­pent.


While Je­sus Humbly Abides in him, a dis­ci­ple humbly abides in Je­sus and pro­duces fruit. What is the mean­ing of this old word abide? Abide means that you live in a place and that this place lives in you. It is the place where you find rest and nev­er leave. In fact, the word for the place where you abide is called your abode. So when Je­sus says abide in me, it is im­plied au­to­mat­i­cal­ly that we must also let Him Abide in us. And when He says, “and I in you”, then we know that we must also abide in Him John 15:4.

So for Je­sus to abide in me, I must make my­self into a home for Him. I must let His Words abide in me like John 15:7 says. Imag­ine that you are soon to get mar­ried. Would you not like to find out how your wife likes her food or when her birth­day is? And when she tells you, will you for­get her words or will you let her words abide in you so that you will know how to be­have and pre­pare your life for her? This is the mean­ing of John 15:7. I must look into His Heart and de­sire the char­ac­ter, na­ture and be­hav­ior that will make Him Hap­py. I should not keep a room in my life where He is not wel­come. In­stead, I must in­vite him into every sin­gle mo­ment and every sin­gle space which I in­hab­it.

So look into your dai­ly rou­tine and your life. Are there mo­ments in the day when you do not wel­come Je­sus or Je­sus is not wel­come? Is there a place in your house or your life where you like to keep to your­self? Are you try­ing to make Him feel at home in every breath you take and every word you speak?

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A War of Words

And so we have dis­tilled our dis­course to ar­rive at the most es­sen­tial de­f­i­n­i­tion of a dis­ci­ple. A dis­ci­ple is obe­di­ent. We know Je­sus Abides in us through the Holy Spir­it. The Holy Spir­it teach­es us the Word of Je­sus and re­minds us of His Love 1 John 4:13, John 16:13, Ro­mans 5:5. We know that Je­sus Al­ways does His Part and by this I mean, He does all. Our only job is to cling to Him and nev­er leave His side. The only way to abide in His Love, in His Em­brace is through obe­di­ence John 15:10.

But be­fore we obey Him, we should at least know what He wants us to do. And so Je­sus tells us to let His Word to abide in us John 15:7. When a word abides, it not only abides in your mind but also in your hands and feet. This means I can­not seek my own ways or my own thoughts. In­stead, I must pray con­stant­ly ask­ing for His Thoughts and seek­ing to walk in His Ways Isa­iah 55:8-11. A dis­ci­ple does not put his own feel­ings and thoughts first. He cares first what God is feel­ing and what God is think­ing. So al­ways ask God if your thoughts and feel­ings are right.

Yet the world is a jum­bled jun­gle full of aw­ful dan­ger­ous words seek­ing to fill our hearts so that they might man­i­fest through our bod­ies. Maybe its what my par­ents said to me a long time ago or maybe its the rap­per telling its okay to sleep around. In or­der for the Word of Je­sus to abide in me, I must si­lence all oth­er words so that I can hear His Word. Like the sheaves of Joseph’s broth­ersGen­e­sis 37:7, all oth­er words must bow be­fore His Own. This means I must sift every word I hear through the fil­ter of His Word and keep only the words that agree with His Word. For this rea­son, dis­ci­ples are care­ful about the movies or news that they watch. They are care­ful to scru­ti­nize the words heard among friends 2 Corinthi­ans 10:3-6. Every word seek­ing to be king must bow down to the Word of the Kings of Kings. But this will not hap­pen un­less the dis­ci­ple lets the Word of God dwell in her rich­ly Colos­sians 3:16. In oth­er words, the Word Is Wealth only for those who have be­come the wealth of The Word.

Fi­nal­ly, as a dear broth­er re­cent­ly re­mind­ed me, obe­di­ence means that I am a doer of the Word. Only the Word I do abides in my hands and feet. I can­not hes­i­tate in or­der to de­cide if I am go­ing to obey. Light did not hes­i­tate to be when God com­mand­ed it in Gen­e­sis 1:3. When Je­sus Speaks, then by the Pow­er in His Word, I be­come the an­swer. A dis­ci­ple may ask how to an­swer but she must al­ways know that by God’s Pow­er, she is the an­swer. I re­spond to the Word of Je­sus Christ not only with my lips but also with my hands and feet. There­fore, you can see that obe­di­ence is es­sen­tial­ly prayer. God Speaks. I Do. God Speaks. I An­swer. And as the con­ver­sa­tion goes on, I find my­self in the state of obe­di­ence, humbly abid­ing in Je­sus while Je­sus Humbly Abides in me.

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“Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth.” - Colossians 2:3