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Discipleship Characteristics-The Marks of a True Disciple

Discipleship Characteristics
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How can we know that discipleship has taken place in the life of a believer? At what point can we say that a new Christian has become a Disciple of Jesus Christ? I have said earlier in my previous post that being born again or receiving salvation does not automatically make one a disciple of Jesus Christ. That means, a new Christian is not yet a disciple. He only becomes a disciple when he is nurtured, groomed and trained to grow and mature in the ways and principles of Christ.
The major problem the church is facing today is that we have too many baby Christians and few disciples of Christ. This accounts for most of the scandals and bad stories we hear these days among church people. From the pews to the pulpit, it’s all the same thing. One truth you must know is that not everyone that calls himself a Christian is a disciple of Jesus Christ.  There are marks that identify a true Disciple of Jesus Christ.  Apostle Paul said,

“From henceforth let no man trouble me, for I bear in my body the marks of the Lord Jesus” Gal 6:17

In this post, I want to share with you the discipleship characteristics that will help you to know the marks of a true disciple of Christ. We have fed so much on milk, it’s now time to eat strong meat so we can develop and grow up into a mature Christian, ready for every good work in Christ. Please read with confidence, you will get value.


“Jesus said to those Jews which believed on him, if ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed” John 8:31

One of the characteristics of a true disciple is that he abides in the words of Christ.  He does not believe today and disbelieve tomorrow. What he believes in the morning about the Lord Jesus Christ is what he believes in the afternoon and night. His faith and convictions are the same no matter where ho goes. There are people that once they leave the environment of their Church, their character and mindset will change negatively. But a true disciple is not like that. What he believes in the village is what he will believe in the city. He abides in the words of the Lord. Whether he is in Nigeria, America, Europe or China, it makes no difference. He abides in the words of the Lord Jesus Christ. A true disciple is a lifetime student of the teachings of Christ and a doer of the word (Matt 7:21-27, James 1:21-25)


Discipleship Characteristics
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“A new commandment I give unto you, that ye love one another, as I have loved you, that ye also love one another. By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another” John 13:34-35

One of the discipleship characteristics that mark a true disciple is love for the brethren. A true disciple loves other Christians with a love patterned after the love of Jesus ("as I have loved you"). He loves the brethren, not just his few friends or those from his own denomination with a love that is visible to the world ("by this all will know"). You can’t truly love Christ and won’t love His people. People are human and not spirits to know what is in your heart. So they will judge you from the physical things they see about you. If you are a loving, kind and generous Christian, people will identify you as a disciple of Christ. Love is an invitation that no one can reject. Even a blind man can see love, the deaf can hear it and the lame can walk by it. Love is not in words but in action. The Jesus kind of love is one that lays down his life for others. It is a sacrificial love.


“Herein is my Father glorified, that ye bear much fruit, so shall ye be my disciples”. John 15:8

Another characteristic of a true disciple of Jesus Christ is that he bears much fruit. Notice the word "much", Jesus is not talking about an occasional good deed but a lifestyle which prompts people to glorify God! (Matt 5:16, 1Peter 2:12).
Failure to bear much fruit will result in being severed from Christ (John 15:1-2).
To be a disciple of Jesus Christ means more than just a casual church member.  It requires commitment, especially in regards to the teachings of Christ, the love of brethren and bearing fruit.  I do not believe that being a disciple of Jesus Christ means a lifetime suffering in poverty or frustration. At the early stage of discipleship, there are many things to contend with, but as the disciple grows up, there should be fruits, result and evidence to prove that Christ is real in His life. Christianity without result will be liable to mockery. Christianity is not synonymous to mediocrity and being a disciple of Jesus Christ is not a reason for failure and frustration in life. We are redeemed to be rich and called to live a life of glory and virtue in Christ. The end of every argument is proof. There are people who won’t believe your preaching until they see the benefits of your faith in Christ. I tell you the truth, result can silence insult in the life of a disciple of Christ. Your life must bear fruit in Jesus name.


Discipleship Characteristics
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And a slave does not abide in the house forever, but a son abides forever. Therefore if the Son makes you free, you shall be free indeed”. John 8:35-36

A true disciple of Christ abides in the house of God forever. He is not a mere visitor or stranger but a free son of the house. The importance of abiding in the house and having constant fellowship with the brethren cannot be over emphasized. Many people say they do not need to come to church because they can have service right there at their homes watching a live broadcast or a television program. This however is very wrong. The bible said we should not forsake the assembling together of brethren (Heb 10:25). There are spiritual operations of the heavenly hosts that take place in the house of God, each time believers gather together in fellowship to the Lord. 1 John 1:7 reveals that when we have fellowship with the brethren, the blood of Jesus Christ the son of God cleanses us from all sins. Hebrews 12:22-23 shows us a mystery that takes place each time we come to fellowship in the church of the firstborn and His general assembly. We encounter angelic visitations and mingle with the spirits of just men made perfect. In the church we have the privilege of meeting with the Spirits of father Abraham, Elijah, Apostle Paul and several others. This is so important that David said,

 “Behold how good and how pleasant it is for believers to dwell together in unity”. Psalm 133:1


And Samuel said, Hath the LORD [as great] delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices, as in obeying the voice of the LORD? Behold, to obey [is] better than sacrifice, [and] to hearken than the fat of rams. For REBELLION [is as] the sin of WITCHCRAFT, and stubbornness [is as] iniquity and idolatry”1 Samuel 15:22-23

One of the discipleship Characteristics that identifies a true disciple of Jesus Christ is that he is not disloyal to church authority. When a believer flagrantly disobeys the divine instructions given by the church leaders, that believer is not a true disciple of Jesus Christ.  When the leading pastor says the church will fast for 21 days, a true disciple does not fast for 3 days. He follows divine instructions to the letter. If a meeting is scheduled to start by 5pm in the church and everyone is asked to come by that time, a true disciple will keep the time, no matter what happens.  A true disciple does not take important steps or decisions in life without seeking the counsels of the church authority which he submits to. A believer who travels at random without even letting his pastor know is not a true disciple. Sometimes, a true disciple can give up his own ideas and choice to obey the godly instruction and counsel of his mentor. This is a sign of his loyalty.  If you bring a woman or man that you want to marry to your pastor and he doesn’t approve the marriage because of the reasons best known to him, what will you do? If you buy a new car and your mentor tells you to park the car and go to your business or job with public transport, what will you do? Loyalty is a mark of a true disciple.

The mark of a disciple tells of the authentication of the discipleship of someone. A true disciple of Jesus is the one who abides in His word, loves the brethren, bears much fruits, loves to fellowship with the brethren and is not disloyal to church authorities. Are you a true disciple? Then these are the heavenly expectations God has for you. Remain blessed.

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