I lift up my eyes to the hills where does my help come from? My help comes from the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth. Psalm 121:1 2
If we do not want to be derailed by life circumstances, we need a form of discipleship that will sustain us and give us a means of coping, not one that will leave us high and dry. Our journey should always be in company with other Christians, we can never be a disciple on our own.
What is discipleship?
1. A definition:
A disciple is a person who has decided that the most important thing in their life is to learn how to do what Jesus said to do.
As disciples we are people who are constantly reviewing and revising our affairs to carry through on our decision to follow Jesus, as we hit different life issues. If something is preventing our ability to function and grow as a Christian, do we allow it limit us, or ditch it? Our goal is that all the circumstances of our life are always being worked out through Jesus, with reference to what we know of His character.
2. The cost of Nondiscipleship:
“Nondiscipleship costs abiding peace, a life penetrated throughout by love, faith that sees everything in the light of God’s over riding governance for good, hopefulness that stands firm in the most discouraging of circumstances, power to do what is right and withstand the forces of evil. ” Dallas Willard, Spirit of the Disciplines.
Discipleship experiences to consider
All expressions of Christianity have their strengths and weaknesses, if we open our minds to the possibilities of other experiences we can find new aspects of Jesus in our own spiritual development.
1. Pentecostal/Charismatic world – emphasis on the Spirit
2. Evangelical world – emphasis on Scripture
3. Pietistic world – emphasis on prayer, devotion and reflection
Discipleship: Working it out
1. What enables the discipleship goal for me? – what do I need to do or change to be able to sustain my spiritual growth
2. What enriches my “Going with Jesus”? – what makes it easier/more fun/more effective
3. Who and how can I disciple? – what do I have that can be passed on, and to whom and how can it be facilitated
4. Discipleship pattern – what is the best pattern for my devotional time. What should I consider not doing which may be limiting the effectiveness of God’s work in me.
The idea of finding a viable means of continuing our spiritual development and becoming and acting more like Jesus, is so that we should not make the common mistake of aiming for a goal which we will always miss. This prevents us from being effective Christians and leads to disillusionment and more often than not condemnation as well. We have to be merciful to ourselves as God is merciful to us. This is not a charter for laziness or blame-shifting, God requires us to mature spiritually, but since we are all at different stages on the journey, we will have different strengths and weaknesses and need to be honest about them.
© Paul Wood