What is a disciple? Technically defined, a disciple is a listener, a learner, or a hearer.
But there is a difference between a student and a disciple. For example, let’s say that you’re in elementary school, junior high, or high school. You’re a student. You’re there because you have to be. You don’t have a choice.
Then you get a little older and decide to go to college. You decide what your major is. You have a great interest in that topic and want to learn everything there is to learn. You transition from being a student to a disciple in that you actually want to go to class now. You want to get the information. You take the time to be a student of someone who knows more about the topic than you do.
Let’s apply that to the Christian life. Are you a disciple, or are you a student against your will? If you treat a church service like being in class, and you don’t really want to be there, then you won’t get much out of it. You have to come as a disciple, a learner, as someone who wants to be taught.
Jesus said, “If you abide in My word, you are My disciples indeed” (John 8:31).
In the Bible, the idea of a disciple is someone who listens to a person who has full knowledge. That listener is drinking in every word, marking every inflection of the voice, absorbing every detail. They can’t get enough. It is attention with intention.
That is why Jesus often said, “He who has ears to hear, let him hear!” In other words, “Pay attention to what I’m saying.”
There is no question that we need anointed preaching and teaching. But there is a need for anointed listening too.
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