We thought yesterday about the basics of discipleship we see in the Bible. How it was expected of all parents, in fact it was their duty. And of how we see it in the New Testament in Jesus, Paul, Timothy’s mum and grandma and so on. How it was life lived for God’s glory alongside one another.
Part of our problem with discipleship is that we think we don’t have time to do it. We’re too busy, too pressured, too harried. Satan seems to have successfully filled our diaries with so much stuff that we don’t have time to shape the next generation of Christ followers. Or so we’d like to think. What we are actually discipling them in is busyness.
It’s not that we either disciple someone or we don’t. Look back at the Deuteronomy 6 passage, we disciple people through what we do and talk about whilst we do. Parents disciple children in support of their football team – hence the reason I have 4 small Tractor Boys (though given this season I’m beginning to regret that), through where they take them, conversations, shared experience and passions. We disciple people in every conversation we have with them as we share what we love, what we aim for, and what we value. It is not a binary on/off, 1/0. We are all discipling those around us all the time, the question is what are we discipling them in?
The bigger challenge for us is to be deliberate in our discipling. To be distinctively Christian in our discipling of others. We will be discipling them – we will think how can do so better tomorrow – but for now lets think about the what of our discipling.
If you asked those who see you most what you love what would they say? If you asked what drives you how would they answer? How about what one thing you couldn’t live without? Those answers may give us a hint at what we are discipling people in.
I wonder if too often in the past I’ve discipled people in busyness. When people asked how I was, too often that was the answer, or that’s what they saw. Therefore activism is what I was discipling them in. Do, do, do. That is in part because I’ve been discipled by our culture – every successful person held up as a role model is busy. Or maybe I’ve discipled people in reading – after all I read a lot. Or in sport.
Deliberate discipling begins with self examination. Paul writes “imitate me” in 1 Corinthians 4v16 that is the essence of discipleship, and Paul can write that because they know of his life in Christ Jesus. They know he lives for and serves Christ, they know his love for Jesus. Deliberate discipleship begins with asking these kind of questions; am I growing in love for Jesus? Am I becoming more like him? Am I increasingly wanting to glorify him in every area of life?
Only when we have deliberated examined ourselves and built up healthy patterns of feasting on Christ and loving him more will we be in a position to disciple people in Jesus well.