Rick Joyner’s Word For the Week: Choices, Part 12

In Scripture, there is a great difference between a believer or follower and a disciple.

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The main question is not whether we have authority to do the works of Jesus but whether we are His disciples. The multitudes who followed Jesus believed in Him and His works, but not many were called to be His disciples. His disciples were given authority to do His works.

Just believing or following Him does not make us disciples. To be a disciple of any great teacher in Israel in the first century was considered the highest honor and greatest commitment one could have. To be a disciple, one had to abandon every other devotion and give themselves completely to their teacher. Most teachers required their disciples to be single because they were not allowed to have anything in their lives that could distract them. How much more ought we be single-minded to become a disciple of God’s Son?

Being a follower of Jesus is beyond wonderful and has extraordinary benefits, but being a disciple is far better. When we read Jesus’ qualifications for being His disciple, we may think we have never met a true disciple. They are rare. Just as only a small percentage of those who followed Him when He walked the earth were regarded as His disciples, the same is true today.

There is great merit in believing and following Him, but the Great Commission was to make disciples, not just converts. The best way we can empower the church to be what it is called to be is to become and make disciples. To have true disciples in our midst will raise everyone’s devotion and knowledge of Him. This will also raise the benefits of those who believe and follow Him.

We can be zealous for the Lord, attend services, pray, study His Word, evangelize, and do works of service and still not be a disciple. True disciples study Jesus, become like Him, and do the works He did. This is the single-most-consuming passion of their lives. If you ask true disciples about themselves, they will not tell you about their professions, titles, or positions but about their calling in Christ. That is their identity. Their walk with God is not an appendage to their life, it is their life. Most of His followers will tell you the opposite.

If we wonder whether we have been born again, we have not. It is such a radical, life-changing, life-defining experience, you will know it. For some, it is more gradual than others, but it is still an unmistakably profound change in their lives. The same is true when we become disciples—it is a new, unmistakable level of consecration and devotion in our lives. Jesus said, “For many are called, but few are chosen” (Matthew 22:14). His disciples did not choose Him; He chose them. The disciples were immediately devoted to a far more radical life than the multitudes. This has not changed.

In Scripture, there is a great difference between a believer or follower and a disciple. So is the difference between a disciple and bondservant, a bondservant and friend, and a friend and son. These are all well-defined levels of relationship to God in Scripture. To be a believer or follower of Jesus is incomprehensible and wonderful, with incomprehensible and wonderful benefits. The other levels of relationship are levels of consecration one can be called to successively.

How do we know if we are being called to go beyond a believer or follower of the Lord and become a disciple? Just like when we were first called to follow Him and be born again—it is an unmistakable call. It usually begins with us not being satisfied with being a follower. We are compelled to get closer to Him. Sometimes this is interpreted as being called to “full-time” ministry, and in a sense it is. It is being called to full-time devotion to Him, driven by an insatiable desire to know Him better, follow Him more closely, and do all for the sake of the gospel.

If you are not content with being like most of His followers, and if you are consumed with wanting to be closer to Him and know Him better, then this call is for you to come closer. Study everything Jesus said about His disciples, and if this is the commitment you are willing to make, your life is about to change again in a radical new way. Being His follower has its cost but is worth the cost many times over. Being His disciple has an even greater cost and will be far more difficult—but far more worth it.


© 2021 by Rick Joyner. All rights reserved.


This is an updated edition of a post originally published on MorningStar Ministries

Featured Image by Eszter Miller from Pixabay

Rick and Julie Joyner founded MorningStar Ministries in 1985. It is a diverse and expanding international ministry that began with the biblical mandate of Matthew 24:45-46:

“Who then is the faithful and sensible slave whom his master put in charge of his household to give them their food at the proper time? Blessed is that slave whom his master finds so doing when he comes.”

Rick has authored more than fifty books, including The Final Quest TrilogyThere Were Two Trees in the GardenThe Path, and Army of the Dawn. He is also the Founder and Executive Director of MorningStar Ministries, a multi-faceted mission organization that includes Heritage International MinistriesMorningStar UniversityMorningStar Fellowship of Churches and Ministries. Click here to take a look at Rick’s latest Rant #ricksrants

The views and opinions expressed by Kingdom Winds Collective Members, authors, and contributors are their own and do not represent the views of Kingdom Winds LLC.

About the Author

MorningStar Ministries is a Kingdom Winds Contributor. They are a diverse and expanding international ministry founded by Rick and Julie Joyner in 1985. MorningStar's goal is to help strengthen the church by helping believers become the strongest Christians possible, and therefore true light and salt in the earth.