The Myth of the Super-Christian
Confessing your own consumer tendencies (great or small) is a powerful first step toward living a life of discipleship to Jesus. There is, however, another common obstacle. It is the belief that discipleship is for super-Christians. While being a Christian is attainable, being a disciple… well, that’s for missionaries, pastors, and other unreasonably committed people, right? Being a Christian and becoming a disciple feel like different things. But are they?
A close examination of biblical discipleship does not allow for two classes of followers: the ordinary and extraordinary. There are Christians who have not lived up to the expectations of a disciple yet can still be called Christians, but that in no way lets them off the hook. Paul refers to Christians who have not progressed as babes in Christ who are still drinking milk, when they should be taking solid food (1 Corinthians 3:1-3). …We need to recapture the biblical expectation defined by Jesus when he said, ‘If any want to become my followers” (Luke 9:23). This was Jesus’ starting point.
Surprisingly, Jesus never invited us to become Christians. He invited us to become His disciples. At the most basic level a disciple is a learner, someone who comes under the instruction of another. Being a disciple of Jesus, however, is obviously much more than simply learning from Him. In the coming weeks we will define a disciple of Jesus as follows:
A disciple of Jesus is a self-initiating, reproducing, fully devoted follower of Jesus Christ.
Jesus expects His followers to be self-initiating. Disciples know that no one can follow Jesus for them. They alone are responsible for their own spiritual growth in cooperation with the Holy Spirit.
A disciple of Jesus reproduces other disciples who love Jesus. Reproducing goes beyond seeing someone come to faith in Christ. It is not simply evangelism. Disciples reproduce by committing to a process of growth with others long enough to see them become reproducing disciples themselves. We will explore this more in Week 6, but consider how the Apostle Paul saw this process taking place: “and what you [Timothy] have heard from me in the presence of many witnesses entrust to faithful men who will be able to teach others also.” – 2 Timothy 2:2 ESV. As a committed disciple of Jesus Paul shared his life with Timothy, who was expected to find “faithful men” who could then “teach others.” Before reading the next sentence, go back and count the reproducing generations listed in this one verse! Paul helped Timothy grow who helped faithful men grow, who then taught others. That’s four generations! How might Jesus use you to impact four generations of believers?
- Fully Devoted Follower
A disciple follows Jesus and comes under his rule and reign in all things. He treasures Christ above all and has eyes to see how the gospel touches every part of his life. He is crystal clear about his own sinfulness and the weight of God’s mercy, grace, and love revealed in Jesus. His only response is live fully devoted to his King knowing that he is the one “in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge” – Colossians 2:3.
 Ogden, Transforming Discipleship. 49.
 Ibid., 37. Also, the Greek word for disciple is “mathetes” which means “a learner; follower”. As a learner, a disciple places himself under the authority of his teacher to grow in knowledge of the teacher’s wisdom. As a follower, a disciple puts into practice the ways of his teacher by actually doing what he sees his master doing. Remember, Jesus said he does only what he sees the Father doing (John 5:19)