Thursday, September 13, 2007

On Discipleship

Sometimes I think I have the best life ever. And...sometimes not. But mostly these days, it is really, really good.

I am spending much time working on lessons for various discipleship activities that I am involved in, and I am enjoying both the preparation and the presentation, and I am LOVING seeing people engage God and His Word more and more.

I teach a middle school discipleship class on Sunday mornings. Some would call this Sunday School, but I like to be very specific about my intent: discipleship--Intentional training in righteousness through relationship. I find this very cool.

For years I thought I had not been discipled, but you know, that is exactly what my parents were doing all along. And while many others, mostly relatives, input into my life, I never really had someone come along and say, "I want to mentor you and help to train you in the Scriptures. I will commit myself to this." And I was so hungry for and open to this. So now I am very intentional about trying to do this for others.

I must admit, however, that this is a recent development. It took me many years to translate what I received from my parents into something I could give. I'm pretty sure that I would have no trouble discipling my own children, because this is what I saw modeled, but since I don't have children, that isn't very useful just now. But how do you do something like that when you've never seen it modeled? Jesus' primary command was to MAKE DISCIPLES, but I just never really saw people doing this. I learn best by watching others and then diving in and trying it myself. I'm very hesitant to try something I've never seen done before, so it took God's intervention to start me moving...

A few years ago, okay more like five or six, a friend of mine from church asked me to disciple her. That was pretty weird to me for a couple of reasons:
  1. I had never done it. (And I wasn't anxious to try something I'd never seen done before.)
  2. She was the same age I was. (I always pictured this older to younger.)
  3. She was married. (How could I help her? I've never been there.)
You know, I asked her to pray about it and said I would too, but I was really looking for space, 'cause I was scared. A month later (poor girl), she came back to me (see how much of a slacker I am!) and asked again. However, by this time, God's Spirit had informed me that:
  1. It didn't matter that I hadn't done it or seen it done. He could handle it; I just needed to jump in.
  2. It didn't matter that I was the same age. In this case at least, I had quite a few years on her--in the Lord.
  3. It didn't matter that she was married. Almost all of the basic issues of life are the same for married and single, and those that weren't, well, His Word was sufficient for that. I just needed to share His Word.

And so , choosing between obedience and disobedience, I jumped in. We typically met for two hours a week, and it was wonderful. At first, I was really nervous, thinking that I needed a curriculum (not bad a bad idea in some circumstances), but really, once we opened the floodgates, it just became a Bible Q&A session. My friend was inquisitive and (mostly) willing to apply God's Truth to her life. The few instances she wasn't interested, she would still hear me out. It was a wonderful first step. We met for two years, and I learned that:

  1. God could handle whatever was thrown my way. My only need was obedience.
  2. God had already supplied me with most of the knowledge and education I needed to handle this situation, and where I was insufficient, He was plenty so.
  3. His Word answers all the questions and needs in each person's life, no matter how different we are.
There are many other contributors to where I am now, most especially the example and influence of my best friend and roommate and the influence of my church which does practice intentional discipleship, but the glory goes to God for making me jump off the bank and into the river. And do you know what? I am so joyful and content when I am engaged in this kind of instruction. Life isn't perfect (please see previous blog for proof), but I am a blessed beneficiary of the fact that God will allow us to share in His processes. He really is so good.


"Then Jesus came to them and said, "All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age." --Matthew 28:18-20

(c) 2007

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