Christian Discipleship: Definition | Cost of Discipleship

Q. Who is the disciple? (Discipleship: Definition)

  • One who is a follower of a master, spiritual teacher, religious leader or a guru.
  • One who lives by the teachings and lifestyle of his master.
  • One who holds the standard and ideals set by his master.
  • One who wants to be like his master.
  • The Word used for ‘Disciple’ in Greek (‘mathetes’)refers generally to student, pupil, or apprentice.

Q. How can one become the disciple of Jesus?

  • Decision to follow Jesus Christ is the beginning of a christian discipleship.
  • Jesus himself demonstrated clear conditions for being his disciples. Before we focus on the conditions of discipleship, we need to know what it is not!
  • Discipleship is
    • Not Easy! It is not ‘bed of roses’.
    • Not the way of constant success and prosperity!
    • Not a use of spare free time.
    • Not just going to church on Sunday.
    • Not a compromise, it is not a license to do whatever you like!

Q. So what are the cost (conditions) of true Christian Discipleship?

  1. Cross Bearing:

    • Matthew 16:24 – “If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me.”
    • Matthew 10:38: – “anyone who does not take his cross and follow me is not worthy of me.”
    • Galatians 2:20: – “I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me.”
    • The way of Cross is the way of pain, suffering, ridicule, mockery, humiliation!
    • It is also to crucify our sinful desires. Gal 5:24: – “Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the sinful nature with its passions and desires.”
  2. Self Denial:

    • Matthew 16:24: – “If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me.”
    • Doing his will must be our first priority.
  3. Leaving Everything:

    • Luke 14:26: – “If anyone comes to me and does not hate his father and mother, his wife and children, his brothers and sisters—yes, even his own life—he cannot be my disciple.”
    • Luke 14:33: – “In the same way, any of you who does not give up everything he has, cannot be my disciple.”
    • Following Jesus must be our first priority, above our family, career, comfort, even our own life.
    • We must be willing to forsake anything that can hinder our walk with Christ.
    • Phil 3:7-9: – “But whatever was to my profit I now consider loss for the sake of Christ. What is more, I consider everything a loss compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them rubbish, that I may gain Christ and be found in him..”
  4. Abiding in His Words & Teaching:

    • John 8:31: – “If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples.”
    • John 15:7: – “If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be given you.”
    • Regular daily Quiet Time – time alone with God is necessary to abide in His words. Check out – Quiet Time – Time Alone with God
  5. Supreme Love for Christ:

    • John 14:23: – “If anyone loves me, he will obey my teaching.”
    • Love for Christ should be the compelling force for us to follow him. 2 Cor 5:14: – “For Christ’s love compels us.”
  6. Love for Others:

    • John 13:34-35: – “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”
    • Romans 12:9-10: – “Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good. Be devoted to one another in brotherly love. Honor one another above yourselves.”
  7. Fruitfulness:

    • John 15:8: -“This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples.”
    • Gal 5:22: – “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.”
    • Bearing fruits is a sign of growth and maturity.


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  1. says

    Nice article. Just want to add some of my thoughts, though. As a Christian, the common argument I hear from non-Christians on why they don’t like Christianity is its “emphasis” on the cross. Who wants to suffer in this life? Who wants to deny himself? And yet, these are the very foundations of Christian discipleship. What they miss out on is the fact that the story of Jesus does not end with the Crucifixion. Christian discipleship does not end with self-denial and sacrifice. It ends with the glory of Easter and Christ’s resurrection. Our story as Christian disciples does not end in this life of self-denial: rather, it begins in the glorious Easter of our own lives in our own personal resurrection in heaven.

  2. says

    Good points I liked this article.People dont know what anything is anymore,they are follow along the head sheep and do whatever it is he or she does.If one truly followed christ these things would be irrelevant.of what the church thinks..or what my neighbor thinks..or waht mrs jones thinks.
    well thats where you must use the measure.of whom you are serving.


  3. Marc Shepherd says

    Finally!!! A writing about what it means to be a disciple. It’s great to see others posting great information and teaching designed to get people out of the “church” mindset and place them on a path of discipleship

    It’s too sad to see eastern religions have a better handle on what it means to be a disciple. It’s time we disciples understand the true meaning of following the teachings of a Master.

  4. Stephan says

    Great outline on discipleship! In it’s simple form it’s self death and reproduction. A true disciple creates other disciples. (Matt 28:19) A true disciple is also, not a fan! It must cost you. A disciple is always asking himself, “What in my life haven’t I given up to Jesus?” Then he surrenders that too!


    Let the truth be told and be taught every where in the world in order to nurture the church of Christ

  6. Olufunmilayo says

    I find it encouraging. More annointing to the Writer. More grace to follow and to meditate to the Readers.


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