Have you ever asked what it means to be a disciple of Christ? Jesus tells us in Luke 6:40, “A disciple is not above his teacher, but everyone when he is fully trained will be like his teacher.” Discipleship is following Jesus to become like Him. But following Jesus is so hard, our best efforts alone are not enough. Just the earlier command in Luke 6:27 to love our enemies is already beyond our abilities. How then can we ever become like Jesus?
The bar is high. The demand for discipleship is radical and exacting. Constant vigilance and commitment to persevere in not just hearing, but obeying Christ’s word is called for. The Pharisees tried to keep God’s law by their own effort and failed, because their hearts were gripped by the idols of wealth, status, security, pleasure, comfort, and the need for self-preservation. Like them, we love our idols because we are born in sin. We have no spiritual life in ourselves.
This is why we need our Saviour. He came to set us free from our bondage. His life and ministry showed us that he is the way. His words and works are always done in the power of the Holy Spirit. Only the Holy Spirit can breathe new life into our hearts and cause us to long for Christ instead of our idols.
The Holy Spirit changes our hearts by awakening us to the blessings and promises of Christ, bought by His life and blood. He shows us the loving heart of the Father through Christ’s works and words. He draws us to the graciousness, goodness, greatness, and glory of the Father through Christ’s cross. Because the Father has forgiven us, we have joy and thankfulness, and can trust and obey Him whatever circumstances we are in. His word assures us that in Christ, we are His beloved children. Our identity and destiny are secure; they are not dependent on our performance or on men’s appraisal.
The Holy Spirit also warns us of the judgment to come so that we may be repelled by the ugliness of sin, its evil and its eternal consequences. Together, these truths give us the courage and sound mind to stay true to Him. The hope of Christ’s return further motivates us to persevere in Him. So day by day, we draw strength from Christ by feeding and holding on to His all-sufficient and infallible word. In so doing, we train ourselves to be godly. We can then look to His promise in 1 John 3:2 that when He appears, we will become like Him.