Personal discipleship should be at the forefront of every believer’s heart and mind. Christians should always be learning and growing in their faith. When you accepted Jesus as your Savior, you signed up for a lifelong journey of continuous spiritual formation. As I have worked on my own personal discipleship, the Lord has made a few requirements evident to me. I have found, for me, the main requirements of personal discipleship are humility, dependence, faith, consistency, and intentionality. There are certainly more elements that are included in personal discipleship; these are just the ones the Lord has been laying on my heart the most lately. It’s my prayer that, as you live out your own faith, some of these ideas might benefit your walk with the Lord.
Being a disciple requires humility. You have to lay down your pride and accept you cannot do life on your own. You have to give up all control and completely allow the Lord to guide and direct your steps. You must choose to “walk humbly with your God” (Micah 6:8) every day. You have to be able to admit God’s plan for your life is better than your own. You have to be willing to submit to the Lord’s authority in every area of your life. Proverbs 3:34 tells us “God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble.” God blesses humility, and being a true disciple of Jesus requires it.
Personal discipleship requires dependence. You have to understand your own desperate need for a Savior. Without Jesus, all that’s in store for you is death. You have been given the free gift of salvation, and this is a gift you could never earn or achieve on your own. You are saved by grace through faith alone (Ephesians 2:8). This means you can’t take credit for your salvation. You were dead in your sins and completely dependent on Jesus to save you. As you continue your journey of personal discipleship, you have to hold onto that spirit of dependence on the Lord. You must continually feel the weight of your need for Him.
Personal discipleship also requires faith. It requires stepping out of your comfort zone, especially when you can’t see what’s next. When Jesus called the first disciples in Luke 5, the disciples had to have faith that Jesus was who He said He was. They were experienced fishermen, but still trusted Jesus enough to move their net to the other side of the boat when He told them to. Jesus blessed their faith. The disciples then left everything behind to follow Jesus (Luke 5:11). Following Jesus cost the disciples everything, and it’s the same for us, too. When you are growing in personal discipleship, you have to have faith to be willing to leave everything behind for God. You have to value Jesus more than His provisions for you. You have to be willing to go where He tells you. You must have faith to be okay with not seeing the whole picture, and trust in the One who does.
Being a disciple of Christ requires consistency. As I’ve previously stated, personal discipleship is an ongoing process. You can’t choose to be a disciple only sometimes. Personal discipleship requires you to wake up every morning and consciously decide to follow Jesus. You have to consistently choose to practice spiritual disciplines in order to grow. If you wanted to get better at any particular skill, you would have have to be consistent with how much you practiced that skill. You couldn’t decide to only practice when it was convenient or when you felt like it, and expect to see much growth. In the same way, personal discipleship requires consistency. When you choose to follow Jesus, you have to be His disciple on days when you don’t feel like it. You have to be a disciple even when it’s hard. You must consistently walk with God and be sensitive to the Holy Spirit every day.
Personal discipleship doesn’t just happen in the life of a Christian. It requires intentionality. You have to make a conscious effort to read your Bible, pray, and worship. This means you have to be intentional with your time. You might have to say no to certain things in order to make time for your own discipleship. You can’t go to church just once a week and not spend any other time focusing on God. You can’t pray only at meal times and expect to grow in your faith. You have to intentionally put Him in front of everything else in your life. Don’t live your life on auto-pilot. Be intentional about your relationship with God.
Personal discipleship is not easy. It is an ongoing process. It’s a lot of work – but I promise it’s worth it. There will be days when you want to give up, but press on. When you mess up, ask for forgiveness, give yourself grace, and do better the next day. Keep leaning on the Lord and trusting Him. When you are walking in step with God, allowing Him to reveal more and more as you grow, you will truly be able to live the abundant, full life He intends you to have (John 10:10). You will never be alone. You will have peace living in God’s will.
If you have somehow stumbled on this post and you aren’t a Christian, I’m so glad you’re here! Please reach out to me if you have questions about what it means to give your life to Christ and start a journey of personal discipleship. Choosing to follow Jesus is the best and most important decision you could ever make, and it would be an honor to talk to you more in depth about it.