I remember, when I was growing up, the frequent name calling that would take place amongst children. The typical response after being called a name was, “It takes one to know one.” In our great commission, given to us by Jesus, the very first thing He says is “Therefore go and make disciples . . .” (Matthew 28:19) The disciples were to go and make other disciples; thus, it does take a disciple to make a disciple. So, it would seem appropriate to consider some characteristics of a disciple of Christ.
If anyone comes to me and does not hate his father and mother, his wife and children, his brothers and sisters – yes, even his own life – he cannot be my disciple.
I must admit, at face value these words from Jesus seem . . . well . . . unreason-able, let alone unattainable. How can one hate his family? First of all, we need to grasp what He means by hate. The word itself can mean either to detest or to love less. We get some insight to its meaning from Matthew 10:37 where Jesus says, “Anyone who loves his father or mother more than me is not worthy of me . . .” Thus, a characteristic of disciples is seen through their willingness to prioritize those they love, putting God first above all others, including self.
And anyone who does not carry his cross and follow me cannot be my disciple.
On the heels of some very challenging words, Jesus reveals another critical characteristic of a disciple; that is, the willingness to face humiliation, and even death for the cause of Christ. Often times though, such an extreme is not what we are faced with; but instead, we are confronted with the battle between my will and God’s will. This is why Jesus said in Luke 9:23 that the cross which we are to bear needs to be taken up daily.
Being a disciple is a daily choice that impacts the most intimate areas of life. This is what we are called to direct people towards. The question is, is this something people see me striving to be each day; that is, someone who loves God more than anything and is willing to walk in His steps? I cannot effectively teach someone to be something I am not.