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Apply 8 D's of personal discipleship

Whether you're a new leader of Bible study, a new believer or someone who has taught Sunday School classes or small groups for years, there should be one common term to define you. You're a disciple of Jesus.

Whether you're a new leader of Bible study, a new believer or someone who has taught Sunday School classes or small groups for years, there should be one common term to define you.

You're a disciple of Jesus.

Periodically, it's a good idea to review exactly what that means and take inventory of how you are measuring up.

Here's a simple process I hope you'll find helpful to take a spiritual inventory of yourself as a disciple.

Devote

Devote yourself to being a disciple. This first step is a definite decision that must be renewed daily. Perhaps you prefer a word like "decide" or "dedicate" or "determine." I like the word "devote" because it reminds me to start my day with a "devotional!"

Declare

Declare your identity in Christ. Your life will lack spiritual power if you lack assurance of God's love for you demonstrated by His adoption of you in Christ. Thank Him daily that He loves you and claim what the Bible says about who you are as a member of His eternal household.

Develop

Develop spiritual disciplines. The most foundational of these disciplines includes spending time with God, hearing from Him through the Bible and talking -- and listening -- to Him through prayer. Need a place to start? Read the chapter of Proverbs corresponding to the date.

Display

Display Christlike character. A disciple will increasingly think and act like Christ. The Fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22-23) provides a good inventory of Christlike characteristics: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faith[fullness], gentleness, and self-control.

Defend

Defend your faith. You don't have to be an expert in apologetics, but you should be able to tell how your story intersects God's Story, graciously "seasoned with salt" (Colossians 4:6) and do so with "gentleness and respect" (1 Peter 3:16).

Disciple

Disciple others, beginning with your own household.  Discipleship begins at home (Deuteronomy 6:4-7). Perhaps beyond your own household, you may be able to develop a one-to-one relationship with a newer believer. Or, you could begin leading a discipleship group (D-group) at your church, at work, or in your home.

Deploy

Deploy your gifts in missional ministry. If you are a believer, God has entrusted you with at least one spiritual gift and expects you to use it for His glory in speech or service (1 Peter 4:7-11). Can you readily answer the question, "What's your ministry?" If not, good New Year's resolution may be to find out.

Depend

Depend desperately on the Holy Spirit. His filling is your lifeline - every day, every hour, every minute. For what purpose? May I recommend that you read an entire book of the Bible to discover part of the answer? It's 25 verses of the letter from Jude, especially the final two verses!

David Francis is LifeWay's director of Sunday School. His latest book is Transformational Class: Transformational Church Goes to Sunday School. David has previously served as Minister of Education at First Baptist Church, Garland, Texas.
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