To be a disciple of the Savior… what does that mean? The word disciple and the word discipline both come from the same Latin root – discipulus, which means pupil. To be a disciple means to be obedient to the Savior,. It means to have self-discipline in what we choose to do and who we choose to become. How do we know when someone is a disciple of the Savior? Below are 5 characteristics from the scriptures that help us to understand.
A disciple will be learning.
Matthew 5:1-2 Jesus “went up into a mountain: and when he was set, his disciples came unto him And he opened his mouth, and taught them..” We don’t have the luxury of climbing that mountain and listening to Christ in person, but we have the next best thing: the words and testimony of those that have written the gospel of Christ over the millennia. A disciple of Christ will be actively searching His teachings. He will not be making excuses that there is no time to read scriptures in his busy day. A disciple spends time daily reading and pondering the words of Christ. Those scriptures have one purpose: for us to read and gain a testimony of Christ. It is through reading the words of Christ and listening for His voice that we become a true disciple.
A disciple will be seeking conversion by ‘doing’.
He will be trying to be more than he is now through obedience to the laws of God. Jesus told Simon Peter, “I have prayed for thee, that thy faith fail not: and when thou art converted, strengthen thy brethren” (Luke 22:32). This is Peter He is talking to! Peter the rock, the one who did miracles in His name, who was a teacher and apostle- and yet Jesus tells him he is not yet converted. A testimony of Christ means ‘knowing’ who He really is. Conversion is what happens when testimony becomes so much a part of one that he is a ‘doer’ of the word, not just one who knows the words of Christ. Being a disciple means not only seeking the gospel and learning what Christ would have him do, but seeking to convert himself to become like Christ by doing those things. A true disciple will be serving others, loving his neighbor as himself, and making preeminent his duty toward God over personal or worldly demands.
A disciple will have charity
The apostle Paul taught us that “Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have not charity, I am become as sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal.” Charity is the pure Love of Christ. To have charity is not an act, it is state of being. Charity is not only giving one’s old coat to the poor, but giving of oneself unselfishly for the good of another child of God. Charity is not only donating money to a good
cause, but giving kindness without reward to those who are in need. You will see a true disciple of Christ love others as Jesus loves you. The disciple of the Savior will be doing the right things for the right reason- for the Love of Christ.
A disciple will be a missionary
A disciple may not have a badge that says he is a missionary, but he will be teaching by word and by example in many ways. A disciple is “The light of the world.” He will “…Let <his> light so shine before men, that they may see <his> good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.” Matthew 5:16 . A disciple of Christ will take opportunities to share the love of Christ with all who will listen. They will demonstrate that love in the choices they make, the attitudes they take, and the feeling of love and optimism that they exude. They will teach faith, baptism, and the need for the gift of the Holy Ghost. The true disciple of the Savior will be someone a good person wants to be around- they have a quality that lifts others despite the circumstances.
A disciple will be actively developing strong family relationships
The conversion that a disciple seeks requires us to be a loving, charitable husband or wife, father or mother, son or daughter, brother or sister. The most important things we will ever do will be within the walls of our own homes. To identify a disciple of Jesus Christ, look at the way he or she treats family. Leading with kindness, disciplining when needed and then showing afterwards an increase of love to the one that was disciplined, speaking with love and consideration to every member of the family, and teaching each member of the family to have faith and trust in God. These are the ways that a true disciple of Christ treats his or her family.
How do we become disciples ourselves?
By being obedient to the laws and ordinances of the gospel. We must learn from the words of Christ by reading the scriptures and listening carefully to the promptings of the Holy Ghost. We should be an example of a true Christian by doing His will, and by being a missionary that takes time to teach others. We must have charity and take the time to serve others. We must keep the Sabbath day holy, and help in His church. As we seek to become true disciples of Jesus Christ, we should seek the good part- and then do the things we know are right.
Two questions to ask yourself: 1. what is the difference between being a ‘Christian’ and being a disciple of Christ? 2. What do I need to do today to become a disciple of Christ?
Moroni 7:48 Wherefore, my beloved brethren, pray unto the Father with all the energy of heart, that ye may be filled with this love, which he hath bestowed upon all who are true followers of his Son, Jesus Christ; that ye may become the sons of God; that when he shall appear we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is; that we may have this hope; that we may be purified even as he is pure.