Consider the seven conditions that Jesus has laid-down for anyone to qualify to be called His disciple.
1. If you hold-on to my teaching, you are really my disciples (John 8:31).
That is what Jesus said. The rich young man who obeyed the Lord to a very large extent, gave-up on following the Lord because of his love for riches (Mat 19:22). Demas, Paul’s companion, at one point of time, gave-up on following the Lord because of his love for worldly pleasures (2 Tim 4:10). On the other hand, Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, never gave-up on following the Lord, even when facing death, face-to-face (Dan 3:16-17). Job declared, “Though he slays me, yet will I trust in him . . .” (Job 13:15). Heb10:38-39 says, “My righteous people, however, will believe and live; but if any of them turns back, I will not be pleased with them. We are not people who turn back and are lost. Instead, we have faith and are saved.” Do you hold-on to Jesus, above all else, in all circumstances? Then, you are indeed a disciple of His.
2. If you have love for one another, then everyone will know that you are my disciples (John 13:35).
The very purpose of the Lord sharing the story of the Good Samaritan is to say that we are expected to show God’s love by meeting the needs of those around us who are helpless. We show our love for non-believers by sharing the Gospel with them. We show love for the needy by helping, comforting and encouraging them. We must care for the foreigners, orphans, widows, the oppressed and even the people opposed to us in a practical way, without getting tired (Gal 6:9 & II Thess 3:13). If we do this, we are exhibiting a crucial quality of a true disciple of Jesus.
3. Those who do not carry their own cross and come after me cannot be my disciples (Luke 14:27).
Jam 1:2-4, says, “My friends, consider yourselves fortunate when all kinds of trials come your way, for you know that when your faith succeeds in facing such trials, the result is the ability to endure. Make sure that your endurance carries you all the way without failing, so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing.” It is obvious from this passage that to attain perfection, we need to go through trials as per the plan and purposes of God, without complaining and murmuring. Our willingness to suffer for Christ is an acid test to show if we are really the disciples of Jesus.
4. Herein is my Father glorified, that ye bear much fruit; so shall ye be my disciples (John 15:8).
John 15:1-2 says, "I am the real vine, and my Father is the gardener. He breaks off every branch in me that does not bear fruit, and he prunes every branch that does bear fruit, so that it will be clean and bear more fruit.” Doing good works, leading souls to the Lord, giving thanks to the Lord at all times and supporting God’s work in all possible ways – these are some practical ways in which we can bear fruit. If we don’t bear fruit, then we can’t call ourselves the disciples of Jesus.
5. Those who love their father or mother more than me are not fit to be my disciples; those who love their son or daughter more than me are not fit to be my disciples (Mat 10:37).
God so loved the world that He sent His only son who shed His blood and died for us on the cross. Isa 52:14 says, “He was so disfigured that he hardly looked human.” He endured so much for us! Such great love! None of our family members have done so much for us. So, when what our family says does not agree with what the Lord says, we must obey the Lord. By doing that we are demonstrating that we are true disciples of Jesus.
6. In the same way none of you can be my disciple unless you give up everything you have (Luke 14:33).
The Bible says that the Lord gave-up His glory in heaven to come down to earth. Phi 2:7-8 says, “. . . . of his own free will he gave up all he had, and took the nature of a servant. He became like a human being and appeared in human likeness. He was humble and walked the path of obedience all the way to death--- his death on the cross.” Isa 43:4 says, “I will give up whole nations to save your life, because you are precious to me and because I love you and give you honor.” The Lord always practiced what He preached. He gave-up everything for us and expects us to give-up everything for Him. Isn’t that a fair deal? Yes, it is. And if we are not ready to do that, we can’t really call ourselves His disciples.
7. Jesus answered Peter, “If I do not wash your feet, you will no longer be my disciple” (John 13:8).
What Jesus told Peter could be applied to our lives this way: if we do not allow Jesus to cleanse us of our dirt, our sins, we will not have anything to do with Him. In Psa 51:2, the Psalmist says, “Wash away all my evil and make me clean from my sin!” We must regularly confess all our un-confessed sins to the Lord and ask for His forgiveness. This is a continuous process. The more and more we do this, the more and more we come closer to the Lord. Pro 28:13 says, “You will never succeed in life if you try to hide your sins. Confess them and give them up; then God will show mercy to you.” Confess any un-confessed sin in your life, right now! When you do that, you are fulfilling another important condition to qualify to be called His disciple.