For Christians, the focus of our discipleship is Jesus. We devote ourselves to Him, to following Him, to acting like Him, and carrying out His mission. We choose to surrender ourselves to Him. We go where He leads. We study His commands (Matthew 28:19-20), His teachings, and His example so we know how to think, live, act, and teach others. We adjust our lives to go where He goes, to love those He loves, and to accomplish His purposes.
For this kind of discipleship to be possible, there must be a “genuine, growing” relationship with Jesus. Notice both words in quotes. First, it must be genuine. There is admission of sin and of need for Jesus. There is recognition of who Jesus is, what He has done on the cross, and what He wants to do. There is confession of sin and repentance. There is commitment to submit to His Lordship. Second, discipleship must be based on a growing relationship with Jesus. It cannot rest only upon a commitment made ten or forty years earlier. It must be fresh and alive. It benefits from daily investment in prayer, Bible study, and seeking Him. It is an effort to work out your salvation with fear and trembling (Phil. 2:12).
Your example matters. Your words matter. Your life matters. People are watching. They are viewing the Jesus in you. They see the depth of your commitment, the seriousness of your obedience, and the devotion of your heart. They can tell whether it is a real relationship or if you are just going through the motions.
Your example begins before your interaction. It starts in your prayer closet. It starts in your quiet time, in your personal time of Bible study and prayer. That fresh, daily relationship prepares you for living for Jesus in every interaction. Dependence on the past, on a static relationship with Jesus, becomes obvious to everyone just like a marriage where the two spouses no longer communicate.
Invest daily in your relationship with Jesus, the focus of your discipleship, because your example matters. Be a disciple. Live as a disciple. Make disciples!