“You must be Youssef and Afaf’s son.” Growing up, I heard this all the time. It definitely was not because of our similar appearances, as I looked very different from the rest of my family; I might as well have been adopted. Maybe it was certain mannerisms, figures of speech, or behaviors I had picked up from my parents. Whatever the reason, one thing was certain to me, my life would speak volumes about my family.
In Luke 5:27-28, Jesus “went out and saw a tax collector named Levi, sitting at the tax office. And He said to him, ‘Follow Me.’ 28 So he left all, rose up, and followed Him. Then Levi gave Him a great feast in his own house.” A disciple is a person who commits themself to living and thinking like their teacher, the behavior of a disciple reminds people of their teacher. Followers of Jesus, His disciples, commit themselves to being imitators of Him (1 Corinthians 11:1). Here are five (4) ways we can grow as disciples of Jesus:
- Sacrifice: We read that Levi “left all” in order to follow Jesus. Imagine how difficult this must have been for a tax collector. To become more like Jesus is not easy; it requires great sacrifice. The scripture is clear that Levi left all. There is no compromise, no part of life that is untouchable, no sin that is off limits, no attitude to precious. Discipleship requires that we let go of every area of life to God.
- Change: A misconception lots of people have about being a disciple of Jesus is that it is primarily about stopping certain bad habits. However, discipleship is importantly about being transformed into the image of Christ. Levi “rose up,” his life began to resemble that of the risen Jesus. This type of complete transformation comes from the power of the Resurrection.
- Repentance: The Greek (metanoia) word for repentance means to change one’s mind. Levi did not only sacrifice that which was most precious to him, and submit to having his life changed, but he followed Jesus. Following God means that we completely surrender our way of thinking to His. We read His Word, meditate on it, and commit to living it (Joshua 1:9)
- Celebrate: It is an absolute joy to walk with Jesus and celebrate Him in our lives. Sacrifice does not feel like sacrifice when you love the person the sacrifice is done for. Levi was so grateful for the opportunity to become a disciple of Jesus that he “gave Him a great feast in his own house.” Becoming a disciple of Jesus is an incredible experience where we come to celebrate His presence mystically through nourishing the inner life (“in our own house”).
There is nothing more amazing than to be a disciple of Jesus Christ, to live with Him, to have fellowship with the Spirit of God, and to be called children of the Most High. Take action today!