A Disciple of Christ- Scum of the World by Bryan Craig
To the present hour we hunger and thirst, we are poorly dressed and buffeted and homeless, and we labor, working with our own hands. When reviled, we bless; when persecuted, we endure; when slandered, we entreat. We have become, and are still, like the scum of the world, the refuse of all things.
1 Corinthians 4:11-13 ESV
In my 19 years of being a part of Influencers, it seems we are always trying to define what it means to Abide in Christ, since John 15 is our key passage… “If you abide in Christ…you will bear fruit…that lasts.” It is the key that unlocks the door to a new life, the life of a disciple. And yet, another question also comes up a lot, “What does it look like to be a disciple of Christ?” In Rocky’s book, Proximity, he talks about the words “disciple” or “discipleship” being thrown around so loosely that their meaning could be lost. He challenges us to define a Disciple the way Jesus defines one. If you study Jesus and his training of his disciples, you will see characteristics of a “disciple”- someone who is all-in, who is fully surrendered, who exhibits personal abandonment and absolute trust.
The other day I was reading 1 Corinthians 4 and, I felt like Paul was helping the Corinthians understand what it looked like to be a disciple. Read it for yourself and see what you think. Here are some of the characteristics of a disciple, according to Paul:
- A servant of Christ
- A steward of the mysteries of God
- Only concerned with the judgment of the Lord
- Not puffed up, considering all we have as from the Lord
- Last of all men
- Like men sentenced to death
- A spectacle to the world
- Fools for Christ’s sake
- Held in disrepute
- Hungering, thirsting, poorly dressed, homeless
- When reviled, they bless
- When persecuted, they endure
- When slandered, they entreat (to plead with)
- Scum of the world, the refuse of all things
- Not just a Guide in Christ, but a Father to others spiritually
Does this grip you like it does me? If we had sign-up sheets at church to become Disciples of Christ and we had this list of expectations, I somehow think the campaign wouldn’t be very successful. However, if you think about Jesus and his life, this was how He lived. So, if we are to be His disciples, imitating him, this is an accurate expectation.
To me, there is only one way that we can live this kind of life. And I’m not going to say “abiding”. I continue to believe Abiding is the beginning point, but I have become increasingly convinced that to fully become the disciples that Christ desires requires one big thing…Death.
“For the love of Christ controls us, because we have concluded this: that one has died for all, therefore all have died; and he died for all, that those who live might no longer live for themselves but for him who for their sake died and was raised.” 2 Corinthians 5:14-15 ESV
“For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ who is your life appears, then you also will appear with him in glory.” Colossians 3:3-4 ESV
I’ve written about this concept in another Blog, “Attending Your Own Funeral” but truly, how else can we become servants of Christ that are not concerned with our reputation or our possessions, who can weather persecution and challenges, even being considered “scum of the world?” How else can this be okay with us and our egos and our selfishness and our worldly perspectives, unless we are dead to ourselves and to the world?
I’m not purporting to have this all figured out, as if I’ve arrived, but I’ve at least tasted this death. And I’ve noticed that “the things of this world are growing strangely dim.” And I’ve experienced that when I give my life away as a living sacrifice for Christ and for others, I feel a peace and a joy that is beyond understanding. I’ve also noticed that when I live like this, I can be more than a Guide, but I can become a Father to others.
I do think this is part of the Abiding process, which includes discipline, pruning, sifting, but in death to self, everything is pruned away except one thing which remains…the Love of Christ.
Men and women who live like this can truly change the world. Are you ready to be “scum of the world” for Christ’s sake?