Each week I have the privilege to sit down with a group of men in the chapel to discuss life and the gospel. During my time in settings like this, I’m reminded of the importance of discipleship. Though discipleship can take on many forms, however it always involves honesty, seeking advice, and Scripture, and someone willing to do all of the above. This time is essential in the growth of a Christian!
The Preacher in Ecclesiastes writes, “Two are better than one, because they have a good reward for their toil. For if they fall, one will lift up his fellow. But woe to him who is alone when he falls and has not another to lift him up!” (Ecclesiastes 4:9–10). The Preacher here is writing about the benefit of working together. Two are also better than one as we live out our faith in Christ. We really need each other, though we often try to go at it alone. We really need reproof and instruction, though we seldom seek it out. This is why discipleship is so important.
Discipleship builds humility. Our temptation might be to think we know what is best for ourselves. But Proverbs says that a wise man will hear and learn, and will acquire wise counsel (Proverbs 1:5). So we can safely assume that an unwise man will not hear from others, will shut them down and will not listen, will lack understanding and will not acquire wise counsel. We need to resist the temptation to be wise in our own eyes (Proverbs 3:7). We must humble ourselves!
Discipleship also unites us with fellow believers. The body of Christ isn’t meant to simply exist for us to gather together on Sundays and then move along with our lives the rest of the week. God’s word paints a picture of believers doing life together (Acts 2:44–47). Seeking counsel and discipleship is one way to invite others into your life. And also discipleship equips us for faithfulness. We become faithful when we make ourselves available. In I Corinthians 11:1, Paul tells the church of Corinth to follow his example as he follows the example of Christ. Paul was in the process of raising up leaders in the church and through this discipleship process he wanted them his example. If we want those who we are in discipleship groups with to follow our example then we better walk in faithfulness. And for those who are struggling in this area can learn and be equipped by those who are faithful.
Discipleship needs to happen among Christians! I would never trade the times I have and have had with these men. I have learned so much and I pray they have received from me as well.
“My people’s greatest need is my personal holiness.” -Robert Murray Mc’Cheyne-
I recently took a couple weeks away from my blog, and spent that time focusing on some goals I had set in my life. I mostly spent the time in study, prayer, and seeking Gods will and direction. I had just finished a class at our church called “Being a Disciple” and during that class God has convicted me in several areas of my life. One of those convictions came after reading this familiar quote from Robert Murray Mc’Cheyne “My people’s greatest need is my personal holiness.”
I often get so focused on the ministry at hand and seem to lose sight of the real important things in life, being a disciple. How many hours do I sit at my Lords feet and learn from Him? How many times do I rush through my prayers and ignore my Father speaking to me? How many times do I act on my own will and not Gods? Do I tend to lean to self on a daily basis or is my life totally focused on Christ? You see we so often get wrapped up in making disciples that we tend to isolate making one from being one. We as Christians should avoid blurring the distinction between the two of them. Jesus creates the distinction between being a disciple and making one when He rebukes the Pharisees for attempting to make disciples when they themselves were not disciples. In Matthew 23:15 He said, “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you travel across sea and land to make a single proselyte, and when he becomes a proselyte, you make him twice as much a child of hell as yourselves.”
I have to admit that during the course of ministry there are times I find myself not being a very great disciple. Don’t get me wrong, there is nothing more that I want than to serve my Lord with a pure and humble heart, and follow Him with radical, sacrificial, risk taking obedience. But often in the course of life I find myself not always having the purest of motives, not being humble, not being sacrificial, and rather taking care of my needs than those that God would have me to. I believe we as disciple-makers have to step back and evaluate our relationship with Jesus before we can be effective in disciple making. In the Bible to be a disciple of Jesus was, first and foremost, to be where He was. It wasn’t, in the first place, a call to do what He did, but to be where He was. Before we are called and after we are engaged in disciple-making, we are still primarily called to be with Jesus. So going deep with our own walk, with our personal struggles, with our need to be more honest, less harsh with those around us, more present at home, more diligent in our service, more humble when corrected, may be the best thing we can do for the disciples we are called to make.