. . . teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age. (Matthew 28:20)
Being a disciple of Jesus Christ is a lot different than just going to church once or twice a week. To get excited because the preacher moved you and the choir inspired you is nice, but that’s not spiritual growth. To enjoy fellowship with your friends is a wonderful part of the Christian life, but it in and of itself is not discipleship.
The goal and the cornerstone of your activity, that which brings God the most glory, is for you to become a disciple. God’s goal is not salvation; that is just the introduction to God’s goal. His desire is that those who are saved become disciples.
It is not enough simply to say: “I’m on my way to heaven.” The issue is, are you becoming like the One who is taking you to heaven? That’s discipleship, and that’s what Christ wants from you.
Discipleship is that developmental process that progressively brings Christians from spiritual infancy to spiritual maturity so that they are then able to reproduce the process with someone else. The singular, overarching goal of a disciple is to bring all of life under the lordship of Jesus Christ and then help someone else to do the same.
Notice that this brings discipleship around full circle. Disciples are to turn around and make other disciples. Ultimately, that’s how you fulfill the mandate of Matthew 28:18–20. Whether that be at home in your relationships, at work, in church, through mentoring or volunteering at the local public school, or in a variety of ways—your life ought to be about discipling others to become more like Jesus Christ. That is your highest calling and purpose.