When you imagine what a disciple should look like, what do you see? In this second part of the Activated Disciple series, Jeff Cavins discusses the importance of imitating Christ in order to be a disciple.
Snippet from the Show
God does not ask us to change and then abandon us. He remains with us.
The Activated Disciple 40-Day Challenge
Are you looking for real change this Lent? Are you looking for a structured program to guide you through Lent? Jeff Cavins invites you on a powerful journey to become an activated disciple this Lent. Starting February 25th, Jeff will be guiding you in The Activated Disciple 40-day Challenge through weekly podcast episodes throughout Lent.
As Catholics, we often find ourselves going through the motions. We believe our faith but struggle to put it into practice; we are not the activated disciples we are called to be. An activated disciple is someone who strives every moment of every day to imitate Jesus, someone who desires such a close relationship with God that every area of his or her life is transformed. The Activated Disciple 40-Day Challenge will help you become more like Christ as you cultivate the eight characteristics that are the most important in the life of a disciple:
As you reorient your life toward Jesus, you will notice the profound transformation a close relationship with him brings. The Activated Disciple 40-Day Challenge will help you take your faith to the next level. In addition to the study, Jeff will guide listeners through The Activated Disciple journey in a series of podcast episodes from February 25th to April 29th. In these episodes Jeff will teach you:
- Biblical foundations of Discipleship
- Daily Disciplines of a Disciple
- How to Developing your Saint Possy
- How to Win Souls
To prepare for this life-changing Lenten journey, purchase your study set of The Activated Disciple
Use the code ADLENT to get 15% off your purchase
The Big Picture of Discipleship
If you are looking for the big picture of Discipleship, the best place to look is the Old Testament in the book of Leviticus. In this book of the Bible, you will find a blueprint for Discipleship. The people of Israel have been freed from Egypt, but are struggling to leave behind the Egyptian way of life. Over the many years of their captivity, the people of Israel had come to talk, act, and even dress like Egyptians. They needed transformation.
Just as the people of Israel needed transformation, so does every person striving to be a disciple. Transformation is something that we will need all of our lives. The key point in the book of Leviticus can be found six times when God says, “Be holy as I am holy.” You can read where God says this in the following passages: Leviticus 11:44, 11:45, 19:2, 20:7, 20:26, 21:6. God is encouraging us not to blend in but be holy.
The blueprint of Discipleship continues in Leviticus with the two more passages from Leviticus.
- Leviticus 10:10-11 “God says, ‘You are to distinguish between the holy and the common, and between the unclean and the clean; and you are to teach the people of Israel all the statutes which the LORD has spoken to them by Moses.’”
- Leviticus 18:1-5 “And the LORD said to Moses, ‘Say to the people of Israel, I am the LORD your God. You shall not do as they do in the land of Egypt, where you dwelt, and you shall not do as they do in the land of Canaan, to which I am bringing you. You shall not walk in their statutes.” You shall do my ordinances and keep my statutes and walk in them. I am the LORD your God. You shall keep my statutes and my ordinances; by doing so one shall live: I am the LORD.’”
These two passages reinforce the idea that in order to be holy, in order to be disciples, we must imitate God. We must do all that we can to try and be like the Lord.
He Did Not Abandon Us
It is important to note that when God asked the Israelites to change, he did not abandon them. Whenever God asks us to change, he remains with us. He does not abandon us to transform all on our own. He knows that we need him. We need his grace in order to transform.
Imitation in the New Testament with Jesus
Our first example of imitation in the New Testament is Christ. Jesus became one of us and showed us how to be disciples. He gave us the perfect example and invited us to follow him. Also, Christ hid nothing from us. He revealed what the Father told him. This is evident in a Scriptural passage and a paragraph from the Catechism:
- John 5:19-21 “Jesus said to them, ‘Very truly, I tell you, the Son can do nothing on his own, but only what he sees the Father doing; for whatever the Father does, the Son does likewise. The Father loves the Son and shows him all that he himself is doing; and he will show him greater works than these, so that you will be astonished. Indeed, just as the Father raises the dead and gives them life, so also the Son gives life to whomever he wishes.’”
- CCC 2602 “Jesus often draws apart to pray in solitude, on a mountain, preferably at night. He includes all men in his prayer, for he has taken on humanity in his incarnation, and he offers them to the Father when he offers himself. Jesus, the Word who has become flesh, shares by his human prayer in all that “his brethren” experience; he sympathizes with their weaknesses in order to free them. It was for this that the Father sent him. His words and works are the visible manifestation of his prayer in secret.”
Imitation in the New Testament with St. Paul
The topic of imitation comes up a lot in the writings of St. Paul. He makes it clear that anyone can imitate Christ. You don’t have to be a theologian or historian. Anyone can be a disciple. See the following passages from St. Paul:
- Ephesians 5:25 “Husbands love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her.”
- Romans 15:7 “Welcome one another, therefore, as Christ has welcomed you, for the glory of God.”
- Ephesians 5:2 “Walk in love, as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us.”
- Philippians 2:5 “Regarding selfishness, conceit, and humility, walk with the mind of Christ. ‘Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus.’”
Challenge for This Week
Going into this next week, think about what it means to be a disciple. Think about all the different parts of your life: family, friends, work, school. How can you imitate Christ in all of those areas of your life? Do it!
“Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children.” Ephesians 5:1
- In taking a look at your life today what would you say are three things you do or say that are directly related to imitating someone in your life?
- The apostle Paul uses the word “as“ a lot when telling us how to live our lives today. The word “as” is usually connected to the person of Jesus, in what he’s says or does. Make a brief list of your key relationships, both at home and in the world. Meditate on the concept of relating to those people as Jesus would relate to them. What have you learned?
- As disciples, we are called to imitate Jesus. When during the week do you interface with Jesus in a way that would result in imitating him. Make an honest assessment of your time commitment and pray about making changes.
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Meet Your Host: Jeff Cavins
Jeff Cavins is passionate about helping people understand Scripture and become disciples of Jesus Christ. Though he was born Catholic, Jeff went to Bible school and served as a protestant minister for twelve years before reverting to the Catholic Faith. Jeff then received his MA in Theology from Franciscan University of Steubenville. Since then, he has become a leading Catholic evangelist and author.
Jeff created The Bible Timeline learning system, which revolutionized Catholic Bible Study for millions of Catholics. Since its introduction, Jeff has developed The Great Adventure series of Bible studies to help people better understand Sacred Scripture and its meaning for their lives.