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How You Can Love People as a Disciple of Jesus

How You Can Love People as a Disciple of Jesus

Recently, I went on a trip to visit my family and met an extended family member for the first time. Although he didn’t speak English, his actions spoke louder than words. He was so welcoming, helpful, and warm; he simply loved me, my family and everyone around him so much. Watching him, it made me stop and think whether people would look at me and know I was a disciple of Jesus

Maybe you weren’t aware, but you are a disciple of Jesus because you are his child. Your actions point to who you follow without you having to say a thing. People are always watching you… so how you act matters for Christ. Jesus consistently loved all people: sinners, the tax collector, the widow, etc. Even if you just have a moment with a person at the grocery store or library, encountering the love of Christ will stick with them and can change their day. 

Who is a true disciple? The one who strives to follow his commands and love people like he did. 

What Is a Disciple of Christ?

A disciple of Christ is someone who is a follower of Jesus Christ. When you accept Jesus, you become his disciple. It’s your choice to really take the time and effort to learn from him through means such as reading the Bible, etc. 

A disciple is a person who wants to learn from Jesus and grow. You are his student and he is your teacher.  A disciple is a believer in Jesus who has decided to abide in his commands in the Bible because they love him. 

“If you love me, you will keep my commandments.” (John 14:15, ESV) 

Don’t just say you are saved and therefore you are good now because you have salvation. Then you are missing out on abundant life with him on this earth. It doesn’t stop there. Be a follower of God who devotes your life to Jesus, loving him above it all. Discover who you are, your true identity in Christ, and then you can truly love people. Disciples take their calling to follow God seriously, as the 12 disciples did in the Bible, trying to be like Christ. 

Who Are the 12 Disciples?

The 12 disciples stuck so close to Christ. They are examples of discipleship in the Bible. 

“The names of the twelve apostles are these: first, Simon, who is called Peter, and Andrew his brother; James the son of Zebedee, and John his brother; Philip and Bartholomew; Thomas and Matthew the tax collector; James the son of Alphaeus, and Thaddaeus; Simon the Zealot, and Judas Iscariot, who betrayed him.” (Matthew 10:2-4 ESV) 

What is a disciple in the Bible? These are them—they chose to stick close to him and learn from him in every way. They followed Christ at all costs, leaving behind their homes, careers and families. They never left his side; you can do the same. 

He is always with you, inside of you, and you can always pray to him when you don’t know what to do to love people.

Disciple of Jesus

How to Be a Disciple of Christ

Practically speaking, being a disciple of Jesus is taking steps to learn from him. Read the Bible, studying how he engaged with others; pray to be more like him, directly pray to love others and to change. 

You have to make it a point to strive to follow the greatest commandment in Matthew 22:37-39—to love God, love yourself and love people. Loving him first is key to being a true disciple; in response, you will love yourself as he loves you in order to love people. 

You need to have the right heart posture before him and he needs to be first in your life. This will allow you to obey him. Accept Christ’s correction from the Bible and renew your mind in truth. 

Be a person who is self-reflective. Pray about the areas where you need to be more like him and take steps to repent and change. A disciple of Jesus strives to be like him; as a result, you’ll experience transformation to be more like him. That journey takes a lifetime but it happens as you choose to learn from him. 

What Does It Mean to Make Disciples?

You are his disciple and he wants you to go out and bring others to Christ; teaching them how to look to and live for Jesus, becoming disciples themselves. 

“Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” (Matthew 28:19-20, ESV) 

This means being intentional about having relationships with unbelievers and believers alike, with whom you can sit and talk about Jesus, teaching them what you have learned from Christ. You can teach them about the Bible and show them Jesus as you live out your belief as an example. 

You can instruct them on truths about him, and who they are in Christ. You can be a friend who is there for them, which shows them Jesus’ grace. Be someone they can talk to and confide in with their struggles. 

Additionally, encourage them to get closer to God. Point them to read the Bible to know God, and show them how to. Motivate them to learn from Christ on their own.

Matthew 28:19-20

Disciple of Jesus: Characteristics of a Disciple

A disciple follows Jesus’ teaching. One of the most influential ways to show others you are a disciple of Christ is to love people. How you treat others, as the Bible says. 

“By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.” (John 13:35, ESV)

Loving one another as Christ does is how people will know him. It’s how others will come to him if they are an unbeliever or grow closer to him if they are a believer. Seeing the gospel is at times more powerful than just sharing it. Sometimes people don’t want to hear it, but when they experience his love they will be interested and maybe come to know Jesus so you can further make disciples. 

Below, you will find 3 characteristics of a disciple from the book of John about which Jesus instructs the disciples in reference to loving one another. 

Be Self-Sacrificing

One of the qualities of a disciple is to be self-sacrificing towards other people, as Jesus says in the Bible. 

“Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends.” (John 15:13, ESV) 

Jesus loved everyone—but despite this, he still experienced rejection, including hateful words from the Jewish leaders who doubted who he was. Still, he died on the cross for all mankind. 

Be self-sacrificing like Jesus by putting aside your feelings for others and just loving them. Love them even though you asked them to church 5 times and they said no. Keep saying “hi” to your neighbors, even if they don’t say it back. Keep saying kind words to others and going out of the way to love others, even when you’ve been hurt. 

Don’t let your heart be hardened. Keep loving, putting yourself out there to be a help to others, and not looking for anything in return but to further the kingdom and show them Christ. 

Let yourself be a vessel of his love. This is being a disciple of Christ.

John 15:13

Be Wise

Jesus considered his 12 disciples his friends. You are his friend as his disciple, too. As his friend he has given you the knowledge to be and make disciples from the Bible and through a direct relationship with him. You can communicate with him at any time. He has made everything known to you, as he says. Nothing is kept hidden from you. 

“No longer do I call you servants, for the servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all that I have heard from my Father I have made known to you.” (John 15:15, ESV) 

Thus, another one of the characteristics of a follower of Christ is to be wise. Take time to pray when you don’t know how to love others before making a rash decision. Look to the Bible for answers, asking yourself what would Jesus do? How would he love this person? He knows that person best, because he created them and knows how to love them.

Seek help from other believers on how to handle things. But don’t rely on what you used to do; gain knowledge by studying the life of Christ and reading the Bible. A wise person studies to renew their mind and be like Christ. Study the Bible and make time to listen to God. Read the books of wisdom, such as Proverbs, to be wise. This will allow you to love others well.

Be Purposeful in Your Relationships

A disciple is purposeful in their relationships with others. They pray to be vessels of Jesus with the goal of bringing others to Christ through their actions and words. God chose you, and wants you to do this, so you should.

“You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit and that your fruit should abide, so that whatever you ask the Father in my name, he may give it to you.” (John 15:16, ESV) 

Putting yourself out there means sharing the gospel by living it out, helping the poor, forgiving others when you are hurt, showing grace and turning the other cheek. Keep loving people. 

Bearing fruit happens when seeds are planted; when you follow the commands of Christ, you will plant seeds in people’s lives. Then you will receive from Christ. A true disciple wants the kingdom of God to be expanded and wants others to know his love. Let your relationships with others (both unbelievers and believers) be intentional for leading them to Christ and bringing them closer to him. 

You are a disciple of Jesus as his child. Whether you choose to accept this by learning from him, and thus being transformed into his image, is your decision. Accepting this mission from him will be life changing for you and will bless you abundantly as you become more like him. Three characteristics of a disciple of Christ are to be self-sacrificing, be wise, and be purposeful in your relationships. This will help you love people well to show them Christ. God loves you so much and he is with you in this journey.

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Nikki Evanson

Hi, I'm Nikki

My goal is to help and equip Christian women like you to live for Jesus by following Matthew 22:37-39: to love God and love people, and within this we need to learn how to love ourselves as God does.

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