Summary: Disciples have been defined as disciplined followers but what does Jesus expect as the attributes of those who He really considers His disciples?
Jesus Christ on different occasions identified five characteristics that should typify His disciples and they are what I refer to as "Pentaristics". Disciples have been defined as disciplined followers but what does Jesus expect as the attributes of those who He really considers His disciples? Let's take a quick look at these five below:
New Identity (Matt 16:24-25). The very first step to becoming His disciple is renouncing your old identity and picking up a brand new identity in Him. The aspiring disciple must be ready to embrace the new life that is in Christ Jesus and not allow him/herself to be subject to the old order (2 Cor 5:17). According to Matt 16:24-25, this new identity involves forsaking the pleasures of sin, accepting the inconvenience that may come with it and following Him step by step.
His Word (John 8:31). Following the acceptance of the new identity in Christ by some Jews, Jesus quickly impressed it on them that the step they had just taken was not the end in itself but the beginning. To be considered His disciples indeed, He told them that they must continue in His word. If you must continue in His way, you must continue in His word. That was the position of the Psalmist in Psalm 119:9-11. In fact, Josh 1:5-9 shows us that the only way to be a prosperous and successful disciple is in mustering enough courage to observe and do the word of God. It therefore implies that there are some disciples who will end up a failure, and they are those who do not regard His word or who are occasional observers of His word. In fact, one of the basic responsibilities of the Holy Spirit is to bring the words of Christ to the remembrance of the disciples. Besides, continuing in His words is a demonstration of the disciple's love for his master (John 14:15-26).
Love (John 13:34-35). God is love and it will be out of order if His disciples (disciplined followers) exhibit hatred or a shadow of it (1John 4:7-11). If you are His disciple, you must love Him and that does not exclude your love for others. Jesus summed up all the laws and the prophets in two commandments that border on love - love for God and love for one's neighbour (Matt 22:36-40). And if we are to go by the God's kind of love, the disciple's love for the brethren is seen in the level of sacrifice he/she makes or is ready to make for the brethren (1John 3:13-19). Because of the love of God in them, true disciples do not forsake the fellowship of the brethren in order to make sure that iron sharpens iron (Pro 27:17). Besides, the love of God in the disciple must drive him to witness to his neighbour about the unequivocal love of Christ.
Fruit Bearing (John 15:8). In John 15, Jesus gave an illustration that presented God as a farmer who planted Jesus as the vine in His vineyard and the branches of which are the disciples. It is important that the branches bear fruits because that is what give the farmer pleasure and reward for his investment. If the disciple must further enjoy his relationship with Jesus therefore, he must be a fruit-bearing branch. The primary reason for your ordination is to bring forth abiding fruits. We must take note that non-performance in this respect bears grave consequences. You are ordained a disciple to become a discipler. You are given a commandment to go out (Matt 28:18-20; Mk 16:15-16). It is in going to preach that God will confirm His word with signs following (Mk 16:20).
His Works (John 14:11-12). The real disciples are those who do not only follow Jesus in word but also in works. The pharisees were able to identify Peter and John as disciples of Jesus because they manifested the work, wisdom and boldness that typified Jesus (Act 4:7-22). All disciples carry high tension power on the inside of them and it is ungodly for the power to remain latent. It must be put to constant use (Act 1:8). This power is not passive in the lives of new converts either. They become so infused with power that they can cast out devils, heal the sick, can't be hurt by serpent or any deadly thing and speak with new tongues (Mk 16:17-18).
God has saved and called the disciples with a holy calling and it is not of individual's work but according to His grace and purpose (2Tim 1:9). If the disciples must not be barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of Christ, they must be diligent in making their calling and election sure by adopting these pentaristics as a lifestyle. May the Lord give you and I sufficient grace in Jesus name. Amen.