First off, what's a “disciple”? Do we use the dictionary definition: “a person who is a pupil or an adherent of the doctrines of another?” I think looking to Jesus’ expectations provides more distinction. In his classic The Master Plan of Evangelism, Robert Coleman lays out Jesus’ plan for implementing the Great Commission, making disciples as we go, teaching them all that Jesus taught. Though he approaches the subject from the perspective of one planning to mentor others, his thoughts will help we who intend to be Jesus’ disciples.
After selecting His disciples, Jesus used a combination of association, consecration, impartation, and demonstration to prepare them for delegation, supervision, and reproduction. In this picture, delegation, supervision, and reproduction comprise the goal – we ultimately do the kingdom work of Jesus and help others do the same – and the balance consists of preparation.
In order to prepare ourselves for the Jesus’ work, we need to associate with Him, be with Him. Being with Him will give us something much bigger than knowledge about God. “With Him” will impart experience that begins to mold our hearts. “With Him” will allow us to understand how He thinks about every facet of life we encounter. “With Him” will help us understand where we’ve come from, what ails the world, and how to apply Jesus’ healing touch.
Next, we must consecrate ourselves to Jesus. At the start, Jesus seemed to have only one rule for His disciples – follow, obey. The church had not come and no creed had been penned. They had only the obligation of loyalty. Parables, sermons, journeys, and encounters became the places of Jesus’ yoke from whence they learned. Nine times in the gospels, Jesus uttered a rather emphatic “follow me.” On one occasion, He says “If anyone wishes to come after me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross daily and follow Me.” Crosses had one and only one purpose at the time, to make someone dead. And, we can count on it. If a cross comes into play, the executioner will extract a cost and someone will die. I may pay with my fear, my pride, my self-directed decisions, my comfort, or my time, but if I want to follow Jesus, I will pay. I must, as Paul says, be willing to put to death the deeds of the body. We must clearly understand the details of our agreement with Jesus if we expect to become His disciples.
For Jesus to impart Himself to us, we must want to receive Him. He wants to give Himself to us, but never barges in. He waits for the invitation, something I find a mystery. The Creator God who imagined the cosmos and spoke it into existence waits for our nod. Preparing ourselves by being with Him and setting ourselves aside for Him will indicate our willingness to receive Him. Then, Jesus will proceed to interact with our spirits through His Spirit – confirming our relationship, interceding to the Father, and loving us, actually giving Himself to us.
 disciple. Dictionary.com. Dictionary.com Unabridged (v 1.1). Random House, Inc. http://dictionary.classic.reference.com/browse/disciple (accessed: June 07, 2009).
 Matthew 28:19-20a.
 Mark 9:23
 Romans 8:13
 2 Corinthians 1:22; Galatians 4:6; Romans 8:15
 Romans 8:26
 Romans 5:5