First off, let's define some terms.
Disciple can be defined as : "One who submits themselves to the discipline or training of another". In this case specifically, one who submits to the training or teaching of Jesus. That is what I mean when I talk about being a disciple of Jesus. Other synonyms of disciple are : follower, adherent, pupil, learner, apprentice.
Hypocrite can be defined as: " A person who indulges in the practice of claiming to have moral standards or beliefs to which one's own behavior does not conform." To put it simply, claiming to believe or do one thing, but then not doing it.
Here's an example of the difference between the two:
Jesus said: “Tell me what you think of this story: A man had two sons. He went up to the first and said, ‘Son, go out for the day and work in the vineyard.’
29 “The son answered, ‘I don’t want to.’ Later on he thought better of it and went.
30 “The father gave the same command to the second son. He answered, ‘Sure, glad to.’ But he never went.
31-32 “Which of the two sons did what the father asked?” (Matthew 21:28-32, The Message)
Let me rephrase Jesus' question: Which son behaved as a disciple, and which like a hypocrite?
Jesus calls us to not just mentally, verbally, or physically claim to be "glad to" do what he asks (like the second son). He calls us to action, to obey what he asks and commands of us (like the first son). If we say to Jesus, "Sure, glad to" follow you, we must make sure we put our money where our mouth is, so to speak. Anything else is hypocrisy.
The question then becomes, do you want to follow Jesus? Do you want to follow what Jesus teaches and commands us to do even if it may come at personal cost to you? I pray we can get to that point together. Maybe some of us aren't there yet. Maybe we look at our lives and see places where we are being a hypocrite and not a disciple. If so, that's ok. At least be willing to admit to yourself and to Jesus (hint, he already knows) whether you are following him or not.
If you find yourself in that place of realizing there are areas where you are not truly following what Jesus asks of us, would you pray this prayer?
Here it is: Jesus, help me want to want to follow you. Help me turn from being a hypocrite and submit myself to your discipline and teaching,wherever it may lead. Amen.
If you want to be a disciple, if you are ready to follow the teachings and way of life taught by Jesus, take the next step. Open your Bible to Matthew,Chapter 5 (or any Red Letter, words of Jesus), and do what Jesus says. It's that simple. That's what it means to be a disciple.