Q: I’m new to the Christian faith (my parents were atheists and were very hostile toward religion), so I’m not familiar with some of the religious words that Christians use. For example, what exactly does it mean to be a disciple of Jesus?
A: Thank you for your letter; I believe it will be an encouragement to others who come from a similar background. Never forget: God is able to break through even the most stubborn barriers of unbelief, and bring hope and new life to all who sincerely seek Him. Jesus’ promise is true: “Seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you” (Matthew 7:7).
A disciple is simply someone who believes in Jesus and seeks to follow Him in his or her daily life. Originally, of course, a disciple was someone who literally knew Jesus in the flesh and followed Him—but after He was taken up into Heaven, anyone who was committed to Jesus was called a disciple. And that’s what you are, now that you have come to Christ and are seeking to follow Him.
What does it mean to be a disciple of Jesus? It means first of all that we want to learn from Him—and we will, as we study God’s Word, the Bible, and listen to others teach from it. Make the Bible part of your life every day. The Psalmist said, “The unfolding of your words gives light; it gives understanding to the simple” (Psalm 119:130).
But being a disciple also means we want to put God’s Word into action by seeking to live the way Christ wants us to live—with God’s help. Thank God every day for His great love for you, and ask Him to help you share His love with others.