Discipleship has been on my heart lately. I have been studying it from other people’s perspectives, taking a course on it, and trying to see how this idea that Jesus demonstrated, called people to and even told His disciples to continue and pass on to each of us and we are to continue to pass it on. But part of that is wrong, it is not simply passing it on. Jesus said in Matthew 28:19a “Therefore go and make disciples of all nations. . . ” Jesus told His disciples to be intentional about it and not to just pass it on but we are to make disciples. We can pass a baton, but that does not mean that the next person suddenly becomes as good of a runner as you. We can pass on information but that does not mean that we the person that we pass on the information to will have any idea what to do with the information.
Jesus said to make disciples. The word make is a verb, an action word, that involves one person acting on or interacting with another person in this context. To make a disciple there has to be interaction between two or more people with one person guiding the learning and another person being willing to accept learning. In our case all should be learning something but I believe at least one person does need to be directing the majority of the learning. Jesus brought together many people but we remember only twelve disciples and we know that of those twelve disciples only three of them got the special time together.
Most of us know all this, it is right there in the scriptures more specifically in the Gospels but why do we forget about it in our own lives? When did so many of us stop thinking that go out and make disciples of all nations stop including us? Going over what I have read I have struggle to see if I have truly been discipled. How many of us can remember an extended relationship with someone that was dedicated to refining us, making us accountable to one another and to Jesus, and helping us to live a life where Jesus is our center? I’m not talking about something where we were sequestered away in some remote place and got up at dawn and were praying and reading the scriptures all day, although that might sound nice. I am talking about the need to have someone that walks with us through life and meets with us for a few hours each week and helps us to grow in our faith, in our walk with Jesus, and helps us stay accountable. I see this happening in so many other areas of people’s lives but somehow this can get lost, yet this was one of the founding principles of Jesus’ church.
I’m not saying that I am great at this. I struggle with it. I have lots to do like so many of you. But one thing that I am trying to do is take this time with my kids. Helping them to pray and read the scriptures and then helping them to apply them to the rest of their lives. I am still working on this and have not perfected it especially with those entering into the teenage years. I do have someone I am meeting with who is helping me along with this. But I realize there is so much more to it. It would be wonderful if we could all be in a discipling relationship, learning and then helping others to learn but not just from each other, learning to learn from Jesus.
Can you imagine how the your community of believers would look now if we were to all be into a discipleship relationship and be committed to continue to disciple others. The worry would not be about not having enough people but that many lives are being changed.
Remember discipleship is not just about passing on information, it is about allowing Jesus to be at work in your heart, mind, body, and soul. Discipleship is more about learning to live in Jesus and allowing Jesus to live in us and see how He changes our lives and invites us to help others’ lives to be changed and in so doing change our community with the love and grace of Jesus. If we stop at just ourselves we are disobeying Jesus. It is more than just Sunday School, or passive participation in worship or a small group it is about actively participating in a growing relationship with Jesus and others with us.