It’s a startling thing to grasp that the most important task God has given us, to make disciples, is perhaps the most ignored part of the Christian life. For many it is simply fear. They just do not know where to begin.
Love has to be the starting point. Simply begin pursuing loving God with your whole heart. Then, allow that love spill over on to people as you live your life. God loves people and when His love is in you, it is very natural for you to begin to just care for people.
A friend of mine asked me recently to give him some questions that help me begin conversations that can lead to discipling opportunities. Maybe these questions will stimulate your thinking and give you tools for this important task of making disciples. These are questions given to someone who is already a member of God’s family but is perhaps seeking to grow further.
- What is God doing in your life and how is He changing you to become more like Christ and less like yourself?
- What are some of the fruits of the Spirit that you are struggling to demonstrate in your life?
- What areas of life is God’s grace becoming more important/more precious to you?
- Tell me about what you pray when do pray.
- How has your life demonstrated God’s glory more accurately today than last week at this time?
- What three things have you repented of in the last 2 days?
- What do you see are the steps toward spiritual maturity that you need to take? (I am constantly seeking to help them map out their own growth strategies.)
It’s not hard. Love God and then love people.
Have you ever said that to someone? It seems contrary to Scripture. In some ways, it is. I have said it and I meant it. Why would I say this?
One of the key elements in genuine discipleship is discerning people and their reflection of Christ (or lack thereof). Humans tend to like what they like. That’s not necessarily a bad thing except when it becomes their only thing. Paul told the Corinthian church that “‘knowledge’ puffs up but love builds up” (1Cor 8:1). So, if you love knowledge and look into the word of God to gain mere knowledge and you absolutely love doing it to the exclusion or ignoring of everything else, you may be “puffed up” and indeed not “building up.”
People who are filled with pride and self-adulation are the most difficult people to disciple. They love themselves and what they think and will be the first to correct everyone around them and set them straight. Over time, this person actually won’t be discipled because they have all the answers. Listen to them, they’ll tell you so. They are puffed up. Consequently, they in fact don’t love God and they don’t love others and are not then building up people. Tragically, their family is the first to be affected by the puffiness. Oddly, the puffy person is ultimately more concerned about who’s right (themselves) then they are concerned about what’s right. Because they have knowledge, and of course, no one else has it like they do, they will sacrifice everyone around them to be able to prove their rightness. So, thinking they are helping by delivering their “knowledge” and are right in doing so, they are in fact tearing down and thus, are wrong to do so.
Puffiness rips and tears. Puffiness pushes people away. Puffiness divides. Perhaps even more critical is the fact that puffiness portrays a small gospel and devastatingly distorts God’s glory.
To the puffy I say, “Stop studying your Bible.” Go on a quest for Jesus. He is the Word! Study Him, not it.
God, by your great grace, keep us from puffiness.