There are disciples of Christ Jesus and there are true disciples of Christ. A believer is a true disciple or Christian not because he or she believed in Jesus Christ but because after they believed in Him, they have been abiding in His Word to know and do His will. The words of the Jesus Christ Himself show this difference between these two categories of His disciples.
“As he was saying these things, many believed in him. So Jesus said to the Jews who had believed in him, ‘If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples, and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free” (John 8:30-32).
Jesus says believers become His true disciples if they abide in His Word. To abide in the Word of Christ is to hold on to His teaching, remain faithfully in His Word or continue in His Word. This means one cannot believe in Jesus Christ and close his or her ears to the teaching of the Word of God, and claim to be a true Christian.
In other words, a true disciple of Christ is the one who spends quality time daily to read, study or to be taught the Word of Christ. This is necessary for the believer to walk in the truth and do the will of God. And Jesus Christ said the blessing of the truth setting a believer free is promised to only those who hold on to His teaching or abide in His Word.
However, a believer who will not spend time studying the Word of Christ in order to know and do the will of God is likely to remain in bondage of the controlling power of sin, the devil and the world.
Jesus Christ is the truth, the Holy Spirit is truth and the Word of God is also truth; these three are one. And the disciples of Christ are called to walk in the truth (2 John 1:4). Thus to walk in the truth is to live by the teaching of Christ, the Spirit and the Word. And when believers live by the teaching of Christ, they will know the truth, and the truth will set them free from the bondage of sin and deception.
So, now, it is necessary that all believers make time to study or hear the teaching of God’s Word regularly, learn to obey it for their freedom and become true disciples of Christ or children of God. This indicates that to be a child of God goes beyond a mere confession of Jesus Christ as one’s Lord and Saviour.
The apostle Paul wrote, urging believers to, “Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly…” (Colossians 3:16). But how can the Word of Christ richly dwell in a child of God? To achieve this, two things must be done.
First, the literate believer must make adequate time privately to read and study the Bible, and second, the illiterate believer must also make time to privately hear and study the Word of God. These ought to be done in addition to the regular teachings you receive from your pastors. You must remember that the Bible was not written for only pastors but also for all children of God for doctrine, reproof, correction, instruction in righteousness (2 Timothy 3:16-17).
However, it appears there are many children of God who do not know how to read the Bible and hear the Word of God when preached or taught. One truth we must bear in mind is that the Bible is not like one of the textbooks we use in the classroom. It is a library of 66 books written by men under the inspiration of God. The Bible appears to be an old book yet always new, refreshing and enlightening.
Considering its uniqueness, the Bible must be read with a special approach. Many people pick up the Bible to read, but soon feel sleepy; others do not understand or apply its contents. Understand that things of God must be done by the Spirit of God. When you read the Bible by the guidance of the Holy Spirit, you receive illumination and understanding. We must read our Bible prayerfully, slowly, repeatedly, attentively and meditatively.
Similarly, when we decide to hear the Word, we must be guided to hear it quickly. The apostle James instructs us to be quick to hear, but slow to speak (James 1:19). Moreover, we must always be prepared to hear the Word of God in a receptive mood of heart. Our Saviour Jesus Christ instructs us to pay attention to what we hear (Mark 4:24). This means as a child of God, you must be ready, willing and interested in hearing God’s Word. You must love and yearn for it. And then also, you must hear the Word of God repeatedly.
It is not proper for a child of God to hear the teaching of God’s Word once in a week. If you desire to grow up spiritually and prosper, then you must make a deliberate effort to hear the Word daily. It is when you hear the Word daily that you can properly meditate on it day and night. And we know that the innate desire to be full of God’s Word proves that a person truly is a disciple of Christ Jesus (John 8:31).
Now, at this juncture, it is necessary for me to share with you the five steps you can take to be grounded in the Word of God. You must hear the Word with your ear (Ezekiel 3:10), meditate on the Word with your mind (Psalm 1:2), receive it in your heart (Ezekiel 3:10), act on the Word, i.e. do, obey or practise the Word (James 1:22-25), and finally bear fruit with the Word (Mark 4:20).
By James Quansah