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Step 2 of Discipleship—the Pupil

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Step 2 of Discipleship—the Pupil

“We shall all come together to that oneness in our faith and in our knowledge of the Son of God; we shall become mature people, reaching to the very height of Christ’s full stature. Then we shall no longer be children, carried by the waves and blown about by every shifting wind of the teaching of deceitful people, who lead others into error by the tricks they invent. Instead, by speaking the truth in a spirit of love, we must grow up in every way to Christ, who is the head.”[1]

Level one discipleship focuses on knowing God through biblical studies and prayer, but level two takes spiritual growth one step further. While level one is focused on growth that comes through study of the Word and prayer, level two is focused on growth that comes through relationships. I need someone to walk with me, to help me grow. Much of what we learn in life about character comes through observing others; observing their lives.

At my son, Drew’s high school graduation open house, I had two teachers say to me, “I could tell Drew has been greatly influenced by your ministry.”

A pupil is a learner who has a mentor to follow. They not only listen to the teacher’s words, but they carefully observe their habits and actions. They actually begin to emulate their way of life. This model of discipleship is a “follow me as I follow Christ” model, and it works!

Someone was talking to a great scholar about one of the students in his class. They said, “So and so tells me that he is one of your pupils.” The teacher answered, “He may attend my lectures, but he’s not one of my pupils.”

There’s a world of difference between attending the lecture and becoming a pupil.

Paul put it this way to his young pupil Timothy:

But you have followed my teaching, my conduct, and my purpose in life; you have observed my faith, my patience, my love, my endurance, my persecutions, and my sufferings. Continue in the truths that you were taught and firmly believe. You know who your teacher was.”[2]

Being a disciple of Jesus Christ can never fully be achieved in a vacuum. Just as every child needs a mother and a father, every disciple of Jesus Christ needs a spiritual mother and father too. And in addition to that, they also need many spiritual brothers and sisters to model for them what true discipleship is all about.

Show me the people that you are following, and I will show you what you’re becoming. Luke 6:39-40 “Can the blind lead the blind? Will they not both fall into the ditch? A disciple is not above his teacher, but everyone who is perfectly trained will be like his teacher.”

Where are you today on your journey of discipleship?

[1] Ephesians 4:13-15 GN

[2] 2 Timothy 3:10-11, 14 GN


About Ron Bontrager

Lead Pastor of Lakeview Church in Indianapolis.

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