When can you say that you are “discipled?” What is the simple, singular outcome of the discipleship process?
And it is a process. It takes time and investment in opening your life to the fullness of Jesus Christ. It begins in simple faith, and continues through spiritual infancy, and childhood, and adolescence, to spiritual adulthood.
Paul really struggled in the discipling process with the Galatian Christians. He exclaimed:
“My children, with whom I am again in labor until Christ is formed in you — but I could wish to be present with you now and to change my tone, for I am perplexed about you.” Galatians 4:19-20.
Their issue was that they resisted abandoning “law” as the way to righteousness, rather receiving it as a gift of “grace.” To embrace grace is to embrace Christ, Who was full of grace and truth. 1 John 1:14.
How contemporary is that! We struggle to perform, to measure up, rather than resting in the yoke with the indwelling Jesus. We, too, begin in the Spirit, but can sink back into just trying harder in the flesh.
So, Paul labored as with birth pangs to bring the fullness of Christ in their hearts. When Christ is “formed” in us, that changes everything! “Love God, Love People” becomes more than a slogan.
The fullness of Christ within (see John 1:16) is the key to everything. Hear it in His own words:
John 14:16-22. He who has My commandments and keeps them is the one who loves Me; and he who loves Me will be loved by My Father, and I will love him and will disclose Myself to him.” Judas (not Iscariot) said to Him, “Lord, what then has happened that You are going to disclose Yourself to us and not to the world?” Jesus answered and said to him, “If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word; and My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make Our abode with him.
John 15:4-7. “Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself unless it abides in the vine, so neither can you unless you abide in Me. I am the vine, you are the branches; he who abides in Me and I in him, he bears much fruit, for apart from Me you can do nothing. . . . If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you.”
John 17:22-23. 22 “The glory which You have given Me I have given to them, that they may be one, just as We are one; 23 I in them and You in Me, that they may be perfected in unity, so that the world may know that You sent Me, and loved them, even as You have loved Me.
So, I encourage all of us – Press on in your discipleship journey –
“. . . UNTIL CHRIST IS FORMED IN YOU.”