For the past 3 weeks or so, I’ve really had discipleship on my mind. I knew my definitions well. A disciple is a person who is dedicated to becoming more like his master. So a disciple of Christ (i.e., a Christian) is a person who is dedicated to becoming more like Jesus.
Discipleship, therefore, is the process of becoming more like Jesus. I would have said that this process involves developing biblical literacy, prayer, community, and witness. I would have said that you learn these things by engaging in them, by being involved in Bible studies, by taking time to pray, by being involved at church, and by seeking to tell others about Jesus.
But all these things only answer the “What?” of discipleship. A few weeks ago, I started really questioning whether or not I understood the “How?” of discipleship.
- How do I help others learn the story of the Bible? And furthermore, how do I help them to understand that reading comprehension is not the goal, but obedience is?
- How do I help others learn to pray?
- How do I help foster true, life-on-life community – one that encourages, rebukes, comforts, and directs people toward Christ?
- How do I make sure that we not only know how to tell others about Jesus, but that we’re actually telling people about Jesus?
So I did what I know best: I started researching. I dove into blogs, podcasts, books, and the Bible itself. I listened and wrestled and pushed back and prayed. I talked with friends and talked to myself (don’t pretend you don’t do this, too).
Honestly, I’m still not entirely certain that I understand the process of discipleship fully. But I know I’m getting closer. I wanted to share with you a short reflection on a familiar passage regarding discipleship. I’ll be trying out a new (for me) method of journaling. If you’re interested, I can explain this method sometime in the future.
And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”
This passage comes at the end of the gospel of Matthew as Jesus’ final words to his disciples. As his final words, it’s clear that these were extremely important to Jesus, and they serve as a summary of his last three years of ministry with them (aka, this is the point, the entire purpose of the last three years).
As a discipler, my task is to make disciples by: going to them; baptizing them in the name of the Father, Son, and Spirit; and teaching them to obey all of Jesus commands.
As a disciple, my task is to be a disciple who obeys all of Jesus commands by: going to others; making more disciples; baptizing them in the name of the Father, Son, and Spirit; and teaching them to obey all of Jesus commands.
It’s clear to me that this passage teaches what discipleship is. And it seems so simple, even though each step may be more difficult. Help me to go beyond merely learning what a disciple is. I want to be a disciple, as your Word defines it. I want to be involved in making disciples who make disciples. As I take this next season to really uncover how to you want disciples to be made, God, I ask that you would send me a few men who desire to be discipled. Stir in my heart and stir in theirs a desire to live in obedience to all that you’ve commanded, including making more disciples.
In your name, Amen.
This is the cycle of discipleship. Disciples who make more disciples who make more disciples. Or, more simply put, disciple-making disciple makers.
P.S. I know I never put out Day 31 of my Better Every Day challenge. It’s coming, I just wanted to make sure this one was really well done since it touches on a hot-button topic. It should be coming out in the next day or two.