Christian believers are to grow in maturity and live Christ-like lifestyles.
The Christian Churches exist for this grand purpose: to raise maturing Christ-like disciples; the kind of believers who live transformed lifestyles and are salt and light in the Church, at the work place and in the society.
The true disciples of Jesus are to be imitators of Christ. The Apostle Paul says, “Be imitators of me as I am of Christ” (1 Corinthians 11:1, ESV). We must pursue Christ-likeness. This is a life-long process.
That is, being a true disciple of Jesus is a lifelong process of following, learning from, and obeying Jesus.
The most essential purpose of the disciple-making ministry in the Church congregation, is to have believers who want to be like Jesus and live like Jesus (Christlikeness).
Lord Jesus is the purpose, the standard, and the focus of the disciple-making process.
Dr Ephraim Amu, in his classic song “Esrɔm Miele”- (We are learning to be like Him), or (We are imitating Him), remarkably describes how this process should look like in practical terms.
In this song, Dr Amu reflects on the goals of ministerial formation and lifestyle of the minister and the purpose of the pastor is first, to be a disciple of Jesus Himself. And secondly, his critical task is to help build up Church members and people to become true disciples of Jesus.
Dr Ephraim Amu composed this song initially for the occasion of the ordination of the Rev Prof Christian G. Baeta who was a lecturer at the Department of Divinity (Currently Department for the Study of Religions) University of Ghana, Legon.
In three stanzas or verses of this song, Dr Amu lists nine marks or characteristics and standards of Christ which the Christian must pursue in order to become a true, authentic, maturing Christ-like disciple:
A.Become more like the Lord Jesus;
In true humility
In sincere service to your neighbour
In showing empathy to one another
B. Love the Lord Jesus the more;
In suffering difficulties or persecution in various ways
In encountering disgrace of all kinds
In experiencing disdain of all forms ( for the sake of the gospel)
C. Seek to reach the standard of Lord Jesus the more;
In earnest effective prayer
In living righteous life and purity
In steadfastly holding on to the truth and honesty. Reach the standard of the Lord Jesus the more.
The Bible calls on Christians to pursue becoming matured Christ-like disciples.
“It is God who saved us and choose us to live a holy life” 2 Timothy 1:9, NLT.
And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another.
For this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit. 2 Corinthians 3:18, ESV.