2 Thessalonians 2
1 Timothy 2

1 Timothy 1

As I usually do when I read a book of the Bible I will take some time to read the background of the book.  Who wrote and why did he write it?  What issues or problems are they specifically addressing?  This helps me to get a better idea of what is really being said so that I can glean the principles that can be applied to my life today.

Paul is writing to Timothy.  This is a different letter than the letters he wrote to the Ephesians, Corinthians, Galatians, etc.  In those, he is writing to correct, rebuke and teach.  It is written to new believers who are still being grounded in their faith and beliefs.  The letter to Timothy is different.  It is a father writing to a son to give him advice.  Paul has spent many years with Timothy so we can assume that Timothy is more mature and versed in the basics of the faith, instead Paul speaks more to Timothy as a leader of the church - one whose responsibility is to make and mature disciples. 

It got me to thinking about making disciples.  It is the role of the church and every maturing believer to make more disciples.  EVERY believer is a disciple maker and the role of the church leader is to help equip every believer to make disciples.  So the question is what then is the definition of a disciple?

I would say that a disciple of Christ is a disciplined student of Jesus.  One who makes it his/her priority to learn about the nature, ways and commands of Jesus and then conscientiously follows the Master.  In a very simplistic way I would say that every disciple of Christ is always reaching UP, IN and OUT. 
They are drawing near to God, pursuing Him to know Him and to become like Him. (UP) 
A disciple of Christ is committed to being a part of the family of God which is one of the primary avenues that God uses to make us in His image. (IN) 
And a disciple of Christ is committed to going into all the world and making more disciples. (OUT) 
Every disciple must be doing all three.

Of course I would say that there are varying stages of being a disciple (infant all to way to mature) and I would also say that there is a difference between being a follower of Christ, a believer in Christ and a disciple of Christ.  But that is another story for another day.

Question for you:  Are you a disciple?  Are you a balanced and maturing disciple?  Are you reaching UP, IN and OUT or are you stuck in, or neglecting one or more of those areas?
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