In light of my new discipleship workbook released on March 16th, I'm posting 4 blog-articles on discipleship. Each blog will cover discipleship from a different perspective.
- In the first, "Clarifying Discipleship", I wrote on what discipleship actually means and what are some inherent aspects of discipleship.
- In the second, "The Biblical Framework for Discipleship", I briefly and broadly showed the four sides that frame what the Bible teaches about discipleship.
In this third blog-article, the goal is to get straight to the heart of discipleship.
What is the heart of discipleship?
Knowing what discipleship means and ways it is demonstrated is great for clarity and direction. Understanding the biblical framework is great for ensuring the proper perspective. But getting to the heart of the matter is fundamental for healthy motivation and obedience. All three are necessary in walking out our discipleship in a manner worthy of Christ.
To answer the above question, at the heart of discipleship is worship. I'm sure this may sound cliche´..ish, or like Christianese. But this could not be said anymore seriously.
In order to grasp the weight of discipleship as worship, we must understand what worship means. Just as "discipleship" is often defined and described in a number of ways, muddying the understanding of what it actually means and is, the same thing tends to happen with "worship".
Notice the definition of "worship" as it is primarily referenced in Scripture.
Worship in Hebrew = to willingly put oneself in a physical state of humility in honor to God (e.g. bowing down).
Worship in Greek = to willingly put oneself in any kind of state of humility in honor to God (e.g. bowing down one’s heart) and to willingly do those things that honor God both publicly and privately.
If we combine both the Hebrew and Greek definitions, we see that worship is the lifestyle of willing obedience and willing humility unto God.
Now think about discipleship. Do you see the similarities with discipleship and worship?
So, how does this "worship" become the heart of discipleship? Because God says,
“By those who come near Me I must be regarded as holy; and before all the people I must be glorified” (Lev. 10:3).
In the same way that worship is a lifestyle of glorifying God and drawing the believer closer to the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, so flows the intention of discipleship.
Why does Jesus call us to follow Him?
For His glory in redeeming and transforming us into His likeness (Col. 1:13-23).
Why do we follow Jesus to become like Jesus?
Because He first loved us (1Jn. 4:19).
Any different answers to these two questions are inadequate. More so, if these two answers are not a believed and lived out reality of a believer's salvation, it will lead them into a stale or insincere faith.
Our discipleship—our following Christ to become like Christ—flows from a regenerated heart that has personally experienced the manifested love of God. We do all we do in our discipleship because it is our worship to God—our lifestyle of willing obedience and willing humility unto God.
discipleship = worship
The heart of discipleship is and will always be worship.
1. Worship in Hebrew is cegid/segid (cagad/sagad) and shachah both meaning bow down in homage.
2. Worship in Greek is proskuneo—prostrate oneself; sebomai—to revere; latreuo—in service to/unto God; and eusebeó—piety toward God.
3. By “willing obedience” I mean honoring/glorifying God publicly and privately; and by “willing humility” I mean acknowledging that we are not worthy nor deserving to be in the presence of the Almighty but knowing that by Him alone He allows us to.