I am a disciple of Jesus #52Devotionals
Did you know that once you accept Jesus as your lord and savior, your identity in Christ supersedes all your other identities?
“Whoever Brings Blessing Will be Enriched” Proverbs 11:25
Bless Online Discipleship For Women
BEING SET FREE BY GOD’S TRUTH
I was very controlling for many years. I couldn’t allow people to just be themselves. I had a manual for everyone’s life.
Why? Because I’m Russian.
That was my identity.
“Russian women are like that” – I was excusing my controlling attitude. My mom was like that. My aunts were like that. My grandma was like that. My sisters were like that. Consequently, I was like that.
Then, I took a love dare test and saw on paper, in writing, what the Bible taught about allowing people to be who they are and loving them anyway.
Proverbs 15:18 says this:
“A hot-tempered person stirs up conflict, but the one who is patient calms a quarrel.”
Oh! I needed to learn patience! Ok. How? Oh, by allowing God to lead me through the Holy Spirit and follow Jesus’ teachings about loving people? Ok.
And I changed. Why?
Because my identity in Christ supersedes my identity as a controlling Russian woman.
I remember drinking heavily all the time and really using alcoholic beverages as my go-to anxiety-relief.
Why? Because everyone drank in my family.
They even made and sold their own alcohol. My grandpa was an alcoholic. My aunts were alcoholics. My sisters and my mom drank heavily. My neighbors and friends were alcoholics. That’s how I grew up in Kursk, Russia to be an alcoholic.
Why was I drinking heavily? Because I’m Russian. That was my identity.
“Russians are mostly all alcoholics” – I was explaining my out-of-control drinking to myself.
And then I learned from the Bible that prayer is a much better anxiety-relieving tool. I gave my life to Christ and I changed.
Because my identity in Christ supersedes my identity as a Russian alcoholic.
I remember May 9th of 2013. I launched my first book. And then it was recognized by Indie Excellence Awards and International Book Awards.
I was constantly talking to everyone about it non-stop. I wanted to boast about myself as an award-winning author and I wanted everyone to talk about my accomplishments all the time.
Why? Because I thought that’s what award-winning authors did.
And then I learned what the Bible says in James 1:17. It teaches us where awards and recognition and accomplishments all come from.
“Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights.” – James 1:17 explains.
Oh! I thought it was all my own doing. And I thought I was the center of the universe and deserved boasting. No? Oh, ok.
1 Corinthians 1:31 says this:
“If you want to boast, boast only about the LORD.”
Oh! It’s the Lord who blessed me with all those good things? Oh, ok.
I started giving all glory and honor to God and stopped bragging about my accomplishments all the time.
Why? Because my identity in Christ supersedes my identity as an award-winning author.
Following Jesus, we must go where He is going. Being His disciples, we must walk in our identity confidently and not look back to be confused.
No matter what identities we used to walk in – our ethnic roots, culture, skin color, educational background, job titles, addictions, achievements – none of our identities are above the identity as a disciple of Christ.
Once we accept Jesus into our hearts, being His disciples becomes the superseding identity.
ABIDING IN GOD’S WORD
Abiding means accepting, respecting, following, upholding, and obeying.
John 15:4 says this:
“Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me.”
So, Jesus (the vine) commanded us (the branches) to abide in Him (to obey His teachings) in order for us to bear Fruit.
Love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control (Galatians 5:22-23).
And the outcome of bearing the Fruit is clear conscience, blessings, righteousness, joy, and prosperity (Psalm 1:1-3, Proverbs 21:21, Hebrews 13:18).
In other words, to have the good life, to make wise decisions, to stay out of trouble, to be peaceful and have joy, all we need to do is abide in Christ.
We obey His teachings – we get blessings and prosperity.
Jesus Himself said in John 8:31-32 this:
“If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”
It worked really well for me. I learned the truth: I can do all things through Christ (Philippians 4:13).
That truth set me free from my identities as a sex addict, alcoholic, over-spender, raging control freak, and all other identities.
I stepped into my identity as a disciple of Jesus and can now be free.
BECOMING A DISCIPLE OF JESUS
What does it mean to be a disciple of Christ? A disciple is defined as a follower, an admirer, a believer, and a devotee.
When I invited Jesus to come into my heart, I didn’t become perfect of course.
What did happen though is that I began to wonder: what does Jesus say about this and that?
What Jesus says matters to me not because I want to earn His love but because He loves me so much that He died for me. I’m just grateful for my salvation. That’s why I want to follow Jesus.
The more I study the teachings of Jesus as His follower and as a believer, the more I get to know Him and the more I admire Him.
The more I admire Jesus and feel gratitude for what He had done for me, the more of a devotee I become.
The closer we grow in our personal relationship with Christ, the more we want to be His disciples and follow His teachings.
Following Jesus is a daily choice. I’d say it’s an hourly choice even.
When a coworker takes credit for your work and you want to tell her where to go and how exactly to get there, you choose to either follow Christ and be humble and kind or to be self-righteous and fight your own battles.
When your spouse is not meeting your expectations, you choose to either obey Jesus and stay committed by forgiving or you choose self-righteousness and divorce.
WALKING WITH JESUS
Following Jesus, we serve Him by honoring His word.
He asked to forgive my offenders, so I forgive. He asked us to love one another, so I do it to the best of my love-ability, my ability to love people. He asked to be humble and only boast about God, so I try my best to be humble and give God all the glory. He asked to bear with one another and tell people the good news, so I enthusiastically share the Gospel every chance I get.
And I fail often, of course.
But Jesus knows His disciples’ hearts. He understands that to learn to love people the way He did takes time and practice.
But if the heart’s desire is to honor the teachings of Jesus, Christ Himself says in John 12:26 this is what will happen:
“Whoever serves me must follow me; and where I am, my servant also will be. My Father will honor the one who serves me.”
Jesus is in heaven. Everyone knows that.
The key to heaven is not performance for Jesus. We can’t do things hoping to be where Jesus is due to our own goodness and righteousness.
But if we love Jesus, if we believe in who He is and what He did for us personally, if we are His disciples, if we abide in Him by obeying His teachings out of gratitude for His sacrifice and our salvation, then we are walking in the same direction with Him. We are His servants.
That’s how love for God is made complete in us.
1 John 2:3-6 explains this in detail:
“We know that we have come to know him if we keep his commands. Whoever says, “I know him,” but does not do what he commands is a liar, and the truth is not in that person. But if anyone obeys his word, love for God is truly made complete in them. This is how we know we are in him: Whoever claims to live in him must live as Jesus did.”
Being a disciple of Jesus simply means living like Him in accordance with His commands.
Do you agree to follow Jesus every day of your life? Are you ready to be Christ’s servant?
If you’re ready to be free from all your identities and step confidently into your identity as a disciple of Jesus, memorize the Biblical affirmation below and practice it daily.
Remember who you are and where you’re going.
I am a disciple of Jesus.
I abide in God’s word, and His truth has set me free.
I’m a disciple of Jesus and to follow Him I daily agree.
I keep His commandments, and God’s love is perfected in me.
I ought to walk the same way He walked -for eternity.
How do you plan to abide in Christ from now on and be His disciple?
Let me know in the comments below.
If this devotional was helpful, download all #52Devotionals now.
Anna Szabo is the founder of Online Discipleship For Women, a Christian ministry committed to alleviating suicide among women globally by sharing hope in Christ. Anna teaches how to create a joyful life by embracing God’s word based on her own journey of faith and fortitude.
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