Becoming a disciple of Jesus is not rocket science. At it’s core there are just three basic stages for the serious follower to experience: Believe, love, and serve.
We enter into the Kingdom, and the life with Jesus by making a decision to believe He is who he says he is. “…That whosoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life.” What is it, you might wonder, that we are called to believe about Jesus? That He is the Christ: God living in human flesh to redeem the world from darkness, sin, and death. He is the Way out of our fallenness, and the Life that manifests itself in a fullness of being that remains inconceivable to the mere biological man.
The next stage of discipleship is to become the sort of person God had in mind from the beginning: a person who loves from the heart. It was said of the early church, “Behold how they love one another!” “My dear, dear friends, if God loved us like this, we certainly ought to love each other. No one has seen God, ever. But if we love one another, God dwells deeply within us, and his love becomes complete in us – perfect love!” (1 John 4:11-12) A true Disciple is identified by his love. Unfortunately, today’s church is often known more for our judgments and divisions. Thus our witness has been shipwrecked before a watching world.
But if we progress this far we have but one more stage in the journey: we must embrace servanthood. “You call me ‘Teacher’ and ‘Lord,’ and you are right, because that’s what I am. And since I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you ought to wash each other’s feet.” (John 13:13). The Kingdom of God is a kingdom of servants, each of whom reflects the humility of their servant-King.
The world awaits our discipleship. Only when the followers of Jesus begin to fully mirror him in faith, love, and serving will this broken planet truly behold the beauty of the gospel.