The Demeanor of a Devoted Disciple of Christ
This picture is of precious souls who had never heard of the name of Jesus. Awestruck by the fact that while their own people shunned them as outcasts, a white woman from America left her comfort, and children behind, to come and speak to them about this God-man who loved them, died for them, and wanted a relationship with them. They didn’t receive Christ as Lord and Savior that day, but the seeds of the gospel were planted.
This trip was a life-changer for me. My husband had been several times, but this was the first time I got to go with him, and a team from our church. It was an unforgettable adventure with Jesus.
It was in India that the Lord taught me what it means to be a devoted disciple of Christ.
Not just in the sacrifice to go, or the world vision he gave, or the broken heart for those who still haven’t heard the glorious gospel, or the evangelizing and teaching. All those things certainly do show that we are devoted to the Lord, and learning and growing as his disciples. But the Lord really laid two things on my heart that makes the difference between a devoted disciple and one who is just going through the motions.
Surrounded by women in the slums of Mumbai, I witnessed firsthand what devoted disciples look like. Women who are destitute by the world’s standards but are so rich in Christ. Women who had truly forsaken all to follow him.
With light in their eyes, a smile on their lips, and a joy that was simply contagious, they gathered with eager anticipation to hear the word of the Lord. Sitting on the dirty floor of the slum house, smaller than my bedroom, these women listened intently via an interpreter to what the Lord gave me to teach them. Even though I went to India to invest truth in them, these women taught me so much about the heart we all should have as we learn from and live for Christ.
Before we get into the heart of the devoted disciple, we should answer the question- What is a disciple? A learner and student of Christ. Someone who sits at the feet of Jesus and adheres to his teachings.
Jesus is our Master, our Teacher, instructing us how to treat others, how to pray, how to have eternal life, and how to receive rewards in heaven, among other things. Every time we open his word to learn from him we should pray to have the demeanor of a devoted disciple. Our sisters in Christ showed me what that looked like.
- A Devoted Disciple is Hungry: Some of the women I taught there didn’t own a bible, or couldn’t read, so anytime they got to hear the word of God it was a treat to them. They were so eager to listen and soaked up every word. For some of them, it was dire circumstances of life that led them there. Their spiritual hunger reminds me of two passages: 1Samuel 3:19~ And Samuel grew, and the LORD was with him, and did let none of his words fall to the ground. And Proverbs 27:7~ The full soul loatheth an honeycomb; but to the hungry soul every bitter thing is sweet. I don’t know your circumstances, but I’d be willing to bet that you have a full belly, a full schedule, a full life… If you’re anything like me, I’m sure you have a full bookshelf as well. In my house we have several bibles, I have it on my phone and computer, so I have unlimited access to the word of God at any given moment. I read and study it regularly and I get so full of the word that I think this dulls my sense of hunger for it. It begins to lose it’s luster, and my devotion to Christ wanes. To be honest, I’m not sure when I last sensed a deep spiritual hunger in my soul. That may disqualify me as a “good pastor’s wife”, but so be it. I do want that hunger back that I had as a new believer, when everything was fresh and new. And I want to be a devoted disciple. I know the hunger and thirst for God will come through draining seasons of drought, or from wandering in the wilderness like it did for the children of Israel.(Psalm 107:4-6). This is what my flesh fights. The uncomfortable, unsettling, and unknown. I have to pray that God will do whatever it takes to give me that hunger and mold be into a disciple who is completely and totally devoted to him.
~Matthew 5:6~ Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled.
- A Devoted Disciple is Humble: Humility was the other thing that marked these disciples in India. They were teachable women who recognized their desperate need for the things being taught. So often women are defensive when they’re taught about biblical womanhood and godly character. They get offended at every little thing, are prideful and obstinate, not willing to change their mind or life to line up with God’s word. They get stuck in sin patterns because they won’t simply humble themselves before God and be teachable. To be a devoted disciple of Christ we must humble ourselves, recognizing that he is the Teacher and we are the student, that our hearts are deceitful and wicked, and that left to our own devices we would be a miserable hot mess! We don’t know it all, and we don’t have it all together, we need his instruction and direction.
~Isaiah 57:15~ For thus saith the high and lofty One that inhabiteth eternity, whose name is Holy; I dwell in the high and holy place, with him also that is of a contrite and humble spirit, to revive the spirit of the humble, and to revive the heart of the contrite ones.
Our sisters in India had this hungry and humble demeanor because they were so immensely grateful for their salvation. They came from the lowest caste, where they were considered worthless and treated no better than dogs. But Jesus didn’t see them that way. He chose them, accepted them, forgave them, and regenerated them. He placed value on them, and adopted them into the family of God. They went from rags to royalty by their faith in Christ.
Because of all he had done for them, they were deeply in love with Jesus. I pray I can love him like that and be a hungry and humble devoted disciple of Christ daily. Oh that he would restore a right spirit, return the joy of salvation, and revive the hearts of all those who have grown complacent.
~Psalm25:4-5~ Shew me thy ways, O LORD; teach me thy paths. Lead me in thy truth, and teach me: for thou art the God of my salvation; on thee do I wait all the day.