Discipleship

Posted: January 18, 2014 in Uncategorized

What is discipleship? Is it necessary? How do you get someone to disciple you? These are questions I have wrestled with for years. I can remember when I was 24, a brand new Christian, and I knew I had much to learn. I would look around at the older men in my church, just wishing I could get to know them and learn from them. I had so many questions about the bible, about dating, marriage, how I am suppose to live, and how to know Jesus more. I prayed everyday that Jesus would send a man who would pour into my life. Yet I found myself feeling frustrated and alone for a long time.

As I have been reflecting on some of these questions over the last few months I am seeing how my frustration of not being discipled, was actually the result of my own sin and the lack of my own pursuit of Jesus. As I think through when I felt like I was discipled well, and when I felt like I wasn’t being discipled at all, I kept coming to the same conclusions.

It was all about me
During the times when I felt like I wasn’t being discipled I was only concerned about my well being, what I wanted from others, and what I could get out of relationships with other people. Do you see the common theme? Me me me? As far as I was concerned the church was there to serve my needs, people were in the church to serve me, and Jesus had become my proverbial genie in a bottle where I would ask for all the things I wanted. And when I didn’t get what I wanted from the church, from people, and from Jesus, I was bitter and frustrated because I wasn’t getting what I wanted out my worship of me. I wasn’t serving others, I wasn’t serving in the church, and I didn’t concern myself with anything that I didn’t think would benefit me in some way.

Where was my pursuit of Jesus
As I reflect on the times when I felt that I wasn’t being discipled, one common theme appeared. My own personal pursuit of Jesus was non existent. Here I was wanting someone to disciple me in the ways of The Lord and invest in me, yet I wasn’t willing to put in any effort to knowing Jesus on my own. I was rarely reading my bible, prayer was just a time of asking Jesus for things, and I wasn’t serving the church and putting myself in a place to meet other Godly men. I wanted to be discipled on my terms, instead of on God’s terms. It sounds ridiculous right? I was so concerned about my own needs, yet I did nothing to contribute to the things I so badly wanted. So not only was I extremely self centered, I was lazy. I wanted others to do things for me that I wasn’t willing to do for myself and surely wouldn’t do for others. I was the biggest hinderance to my own personal growth and i’m sure I stunted the growth of those around me by my selfish way of life.

Discipled well
By God’s grace there have been many seasons where I have been discipled well and this has been the case for the last 2-3 years. There have been countless men who have invested years of their own lives to discipling me and investing in my future. They have shown me what it looks like to put others needs before their own, what it looks like to love their families well, what it looks like to sacrificially serve the church, and most importantly what it looks like to be a follower of Jesus Christ. Not only have I gleaned from their wisdom and seen them model how it is a Christian should live, but more importantly they have shown me what to do when I am wandering from The Lord and walking in sin, repent. I have seen them repent to their wives, repent to their children, repent to their communities, and repent to The Lord. I cant even begin to explain how much of a gift this has been to me.

But what was I doing during the time when I was being discipled well? What circumstance of my life was different when I was being discipled well versus when I felt I wasn’t being discipled well? Had Jesus left me to fend for myself and disciple myself during some seasons of my life and not others? Did the church fail to have a discipleship plan in place that would ensure I would be discipled? The answer is no.

First things first. I must first be a disciple of Jesus. Before I can be discipled by anyone, I must be a disciple of Jesus. Lets define a disciple of Jesus as, a person who is growing in their relationship with Jesus through time in the bible and in prayer with Him with a renewing of the mind and heart. During the times of when I have been discipled well I was reading my bible daily and I was giving myself to The Lord in prayer. Not just asking Jesus for things in prayer, but praying for Jesus people, praying for the needs of others, praying for those that don’t know Jesus, and praying for those who have no voice….. or in other words, praying for those who Jesus prayed for. As I was spending time in the bible and in prayer The Lord would convict me of sin in my life, he would lead me to repentance, he would break my heart for the things that break his, he would challenge the way I look at the world, and there would be a literal renewing of my mind and heart that compelled me to live differently. As I was reading and praying I began to see how incredibly sinful I am and I came to the realization that all I really know, is that I don’t know that much. This is where I pursued the men Jesus had placed in my life and discipleship occurred. As I was being discipled by Jesus and convicted by the Spirit that lives inside of me, I was discipled by those I was in community with as I shared with them what The Lord was doing in my own heart. Discipleship has to first start with Jesus.

Should the older men in the church pursue the younger men in the church to show them the ways of The Lord? Yes. Should younger men in the church find younger men than themselves and show them the ways of The Lord? Yes. It is clear in scripture that we should all be disciples, making disciples. But above and before everything… I must be a disciple of Jesus. Everything comes after that and flows out of that place as a disciple of Jesus. Man has nothing to offer me other other than to tell me about Jesus, to point me to Jesus, to preach the gospel to me, and call me to repentance in my sin against Jesus. I need Jesus! Im not saying that this is the only way discipleship should happen. But this is what it looked like for me. One thing I can tell you for sure though. Discipleship starts with being a disciple of Jesus. Thank you Daniel Garcia, Steve Zietlow, Matt Wallace, Tyson Loveless and John Corrigan. You and your wives have continually blessed me and poured into my life in so many ways. Thank you for pursuing me and letting me bring things to you that i’m wrestling with. Thank you for taking discipleship seriously, not just in discipling me, but letting me see you be a disciple of Jesus. Thank you for letting me see you humbly lead your family’s and our church. Thank you for letting me see you walk in repentance. Thank you for being a reflection of Jesus and always pointing me to Jesus. I am eternally grateful for all of you and for everyone else over the years who has poured into my life, prayed for me, and pointed me to Jesus.

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