PUBLISHED: July 17, 2019 • 3 minute read
If you are a believer, I’m sure you have heard the word disciple several times in sermons or throughout the Bible. But what does it mean to be a disciple? What does it look like? How will the world know that we are Jesus’ disciples?
The word disciple simply means a follower. In other words, a disciple of Jesus is one who follows the teachings and lifestyle of Jesus.
How will the world recognize that we are disciples of Christ?
This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples. John 15:8
The world will know that we are disciples of Christ by our fruit. Nothing else. Not by how many likes we get on Instagram or followers we have on Twitter. Just by our fruit. That’s it.
What is fruit?
So, if the world will know that we belong to Christ by our fruit, what is fruit? Does this mean that we have to plant mango and lemon trees in our yard?
Galatians 5:22-23 says,
The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.
These fruits are the result of the Holy Spirit’s empowering presence within us. When we have a relationship with God and are obedient to Him, our lives will reflect these characteristics. People will wonder what is so different about us. They will marvel at our unshaken joy, undisturbed peace and steadfast love.
In conjunction with this, Jesus states:
By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another. John 13:34
The word for love in this verse in the original Greek is agape. Agape is the unconditional love that comes from God. Thus, it is impossible to produce this kind of love in our own ability. Love (agape) is also the first fruit mentioned in the list of the fruits of the Spirit.
We know that we are truly Jesus’ disciples by the Spirit who lives in us—proving that we are children of God (Galatians 4:6). It is our responsibility to cultivate the fruit of the Spirit in our lives through studying Scripture, prayer and fellowship with other believers. By this fruit, unbelievers will recognize that there is something different in us and we can point them to the One who works with us to produce the fruit.