Defining discipleship

08 December 2020 | Youth

Grace Burmeister-Nel



Discipleship is a subject that means different things to different people. We interpret the concept in different ways and establish our own understanding, but do we really know the true meaning in our young, day-to-day lives?

I thought having an understanding of discipleship and its challenges would clarify misconceptions we have about it.

The term discipleship has an ambiguous meaning in the English language.

It can mean your own discipleship in the sense of your own pattern of following God or it can be the activity of helping others to be disciples and to grow in Him.

Discipleship can be, when describing your growth as a Christian, growing into healthy habits and falling out of bad ones. Growing in discipleship to walk a road with people. Growing your strength in God. Growing your belief and growing as a human.

“Being a disciple and leading a life of discipleship is hard. Following and being faithful is hard, especially today. The world can be judgmental, difficult to please and hard to be accepted into. This makes it hard to be a disciple and faithful to The Bible and God.

“Being a disciple is never easy. Being obedient to what God expects of us is never easy. I always say to people that it’s the story that Jesus tells of the wide-open road and the small road. Very few people choose the small, difficult road because it’s small and it’s difficult, and so I think if we want to be disciples and if we want to be disciple-makers, we have to make difficult choices and we have to, a lot of the time, do things that the world around us does not do naturally,” Neeltjie Burmeister, a Namibian woman involved in women’s ministry and discipleship, said.

The Bible is a map, a guidebook and compass that can lead us onto the right path. It teaches us some of the most important and valuable life lessons such as: Blessing our time, talents and treasures; to live for God and not to seek approval from our peers; going beyond the requirements; forgiveness, and lastly, that “love is patient and love is kind”(Corinthians 13:4).

When being a disciple, you have the opportunity to be the person you are leading’s compass, map or guidebook. You have the opportunity to teach important lessons and to be the push someone needs to become a follower and believer. You have the opportunity to make a difference.

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