Discipleship Self-Examination (Matt 4:19)

you_are_here_location_dot_classic_round_sticker-r476be9d8e3a441f680fb60364eacf876_v9waf_8byvr_324Knowing where you are is vital to getting where you need to be. Most malls and large shopping centers have maps that indicate the location of shops and various amenities. One helpful tool on these maps is the “You Are Here” sticker. The purpose of this sticker, obviously, is to reveal your current location so that you can discern the best way to your destinations. Similarly, the destination for every Christian is to be like Jesus and it is vital that we discern our current spiritual stage so that we can best move forward into spiritual maturity. Christians are called to be disciples who make disciples (Matt 28:18-20). What is a disciple? Jesus defined what it means to be a disciple in Matthew 4:19 when He said, “Follow Me, and I will make you fishers of men.”[1]  Using Matthew 4:19 as a guide, let us examine ourselves and our commitment to discipleship.

  1. Follow Me” – A disciple of Jesus Christ follows Jesus Christ and no one else. A disciple of Jesus Christ calls Jesus “Lord” and submits to Him. Question: “Am I following Jesus?”
    1. ____ No. I do not base my life on Jesus. I follow some other religion or myself.
    2. ____ Yes, but I am not always sure what that means.
    3. ____ Yes, but I have a lot going on in my life right now so I just try my best.
    4. ____ Yes. Jesus is Lord and I am following Him and no one else.  I fail to do this as I should and I know I need help.
    5. ____ Yes. I have made a commitment to follow Jesus every moment of the day. I am by no means perfect but I am committed.
  2. And I will Make You” – A disciple of Jesus Christ is being changed by Jesus Christ. Jesus takes us just as we are, but does not leave us as He found us. He is committed to daily transforming us to become more like Him. Question: “Is Jesus changing me?”
    1. ____ Jesus is not changing me because I don’t want Him to change me. I am fine just as I am.
    2. ____ I have no idea what that means, but it sounds good.
    3. ____ I am sure he is but I don’t really think about it much.
    4. ____ I want to change but it seems I take two steps forward and two steps back.
    5. ____ I can definitely list areas of my life that Jesus has changed.
  3. Fishers of Men” – A disciple of Jesus Christ is committed to Jesus’ mission to seek and to save the lost. Question: At what level is my commitment to the mission of Jesus?
    1. ____ I do not care about Jesus or His mission. I have more important goals.
    2. ____ I am a little confused at times as to what part I play and how I do this.
    3. ____ I want others to know Jesus, but I have too much going on in my life at this time.
    4. ____ I want to make disciples and help others grow and know I should, but I am not.
    5. ____ I am committed to helping others grow in spiritual maturity and am currently (or recently) discipling someone.

What does this mean?

  1. If your answers are all or mostly “A’s”, you are Spiritually Dead. This spiritual stage includes everyone who is not a Christian. People in this stage might say things like: “There is no God” or “The Bible is full of contradictions”. Those who are spiritually dead are in danger of being punished in hell for eternity because of their sinful rebellion against God. They need to be reconciled to God through Jesus. They need people to love them, pray for them, and share the gospel with them. They need to receive Jesus as their Savior and Lord.
  2. If your answers are all or mostly “B’s”, you are a Spiritual Infant. This spiritual stage includes someone who is either a new Christian or a Christian who is characterized mostly by what they do not know about the Christian faith. People in this stage might say things like: “I didn’t know the Bible said that” or “I don’t understand why I need to go to Church”. Those who are spiritual infants need a mature Christian(s) to share their life, share new truth, and share new habits with them to help them grow in spiritual maturity. They need to develop a hunger for the things of God and grow into spiritual maturity.
  3. If your answers are all or mostly “C’s”, you are a Spiritual Child. This spiritual stage includes immature Christians who are characterized by selfishness and self-satisfaction. People in this stage are the most likely to eat “Roasted Preacher/Music Minister” for Sunday lunch and the most likely to threaten to withhold their tithe/service/attendance when they get upset. Sadly, many Christians remain in this stage for a long time. It is important to note that spiritual children can have immense Bible knowledge, regular church attendance, and be actively serving in the church. The problem is that they do all these things for selfish reasons. They need to be reminded to be servants of others and connected to the big picture of the Great Commission.
  4. If your answers are all or mostly “D’s”, you are a Spiritual Young Adult. This spiritual stage includes Christians who have begun to grasp the importance of service and self-denial. People in this stage might say things like: “I want to share the gospel with my friends. Can you help me with that?” or “Since our class is getting full, maybe we should start a new one?” They are God-centered and others-focused but are not actively making disciples. They know they should be making disciples and want to but have not taken the next step of actually doing it. They need to be equipped for ministry, provided with opportunities to serve others, and released to do ministry.
  5. If your answers are all or mostly “E’s”, you are a Spiritual Parent. This is the spiritual stage that every Christian should strive to be in. People in this stage might say things like: “I am studying the Bible with my friend who is not a Christian, please pray for him” or “We have homebound and nursing home people, will you help me minister to them?” It must be noted that this is not a stage of perfection, but a stage of commitment. Christians in this stage are spiritually mature and are intentionally making disciples.  They can explain the discipleship process, are eager to be trained to disciple others, and are actively discipling others to grow in spiritual maturity.

Where are you in your discipleship pathway? Pray and ask God to reveal to you where you are spiritually and ask Him to help you grow in spiritual maturity. Enlist someone that you trust to help you grow spiritually. Take steps of faith to become more like Jesus Christ.

[1] The information in this self-examination is based on Real-Life Discipleship by Jim Putman.