Wednesday, March 28, 2018

Discipleship is the Next Step

There are three basic ingredients that go into our walk with the Lord. Prayer, reading the scriptures and connecting with other Christians. As much as we are grateful to the Lord for our new life, we still find that we struggle to do even these seemingly simple things. Why is that?

If you find someone who will take the time to walk in a discipleship relationship, don't let them get away.

It's because we do not understand the process of growing in the Lord. We need to be discipled. It is a vital part of coming to know the Lord and designed to bring us together that we can be of one mind, as the scriptures instruct us to do.

Without discipleship, we see growing in our walk much differently than the Lord does. In fact, the ways of the Lord are difficult to understand until we grow into them.

As a new creation in Christ we grow through having our mind renewed. There is a way that God sees that we cannot. God has a thought process that our old nature, which is the only way we knew, cannot understand.

We need to adopt a new way of thinking or we simply will not know God or who He is. We cannot become like Him, until we think like Him.

"My thoughts are nothing like your thoughts," says the LORD. "And my ways are far beyond anything you could imagine. For just as the heavens are higher than the earth, so my ways are higher than your ways and my thoughts higher than your thoughts. - Isaiah 55:8-9 NLT 
So this begs the question, if I don't know God's ways, then how in the world can I grow?

A Mystery Revealed

Yep! It's a mystery. Fortunately, the mystery has been revealed to those who are in Christ. The answer is discipleship!

Yet when I am among mature believers, I do speak with words of wisdom, but not the kind of wisdom that belongs to this world or to the rulers of this world, who are soon forgotten. No, the wisdom we speak of is the mystery of God--his plan that was previously hidden, even though he made it for our ultimate glory before the world began. But the rulers of this world have not understood it; if they had, they would not have crucified our glorious Lord. - 1 Corinthians 2:6-8 NLT

The ability to grow in Christ was formerly not possible. This is because we did not have the Holy Spirit dwelling in us until Jesus sent Him to us. God in us, the hope of glory is the mystery revealed. He is the mechanism by which one learns, grows and teaches in Christ
But people who aren't spiritual can't receive these truths from God's Spirit. It all sounds foolish to them and they can't understand it, for only those who are spiritual can understand what the Spirit means. - 1 Corinthians 2:14 NLT

A Modern Day Drought

Discipleship is a missing component in our fast moving, highly competitive and distracting culture. Yes, that includes the church culture. We many times mistake teaching, sermons and going to church as discipleship. They are related to discipleship but are not discipleship in themselves.

You'll hear about modern day techniques such as accountability partners, facilitators and break out groups. Although these things can be helpful they are not discipleship either.

Discipleship is where a growing Christian is in a close relationship and walking with a seasoned and mature Christian. This relationship is vital to the growth of new and immature Christians and very powerful.

The goal of the discipler is to raise up the disciple to understand their own relationship with the Lord, how to walk, how to recover when they fall, and then how to be a discipler themselves.

Therefore, go and make disciples of all the nations... Teach these new disciples to obey all the commands I have given you. And be sure of this: I am with you always, even to the end of the age." - Matthew 28:19-20 NLT

A Pattern of Discipleship

Jesus and Paul instructed us in the ways of discipleship.

Dear brothers and sisters, pattern your lives after mine, and learn from those who follow our example. - Philippians 3:17 NLT
Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will find rest for your souls. - Matthew 11:29 NLT
Hold on to the pattern of wholesome teaching you learned from me--a pattern shaped by the faith and love that you have in Christ Jesus. - 2 Timothy 1:13 NLT 

Timothy was discipled by Paul. We can see Paul continuing to disciple Timothy in the books written to Timothy. They are an extension of the very pattern of Paul's life.  Through discipleship Timothy became a leader, a mentor, a teacher and a coach, himself. Jesus, Paul and Timothy were active in teaching Christians how to be transformed by renewing their mind. That is like saying we are transformed by thinking like Jesus thinks!

"Physical training is good, but training for godliness is much better, promising benefits in this life and in the life to come." ... Teach these things and insist that everyone learn them. ... Until I get there, focus on reading the Scriptures to the church, encouraging the believers, and teaching them. - 1 Timothy 4:8, 11, 13 NLT

The structure taking us from worldly thinking, to thinking like Jesus thinks, is designed into the pattern of the church. Mature and seasoned brothers and sisters in the Lord have the responsibility to take disciples under their wing and be a pattern for them to follow.
Now these are the gifts Christ gave to the church: the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, and the pastors and teachers. Their responsibility is to equip God's people to do his work and build up the church, the body of Christ. This will continue until we all come to such unity in our faith and knowledge of God's Son that we will be mature in the Lord, measuring up to the full and complete standard of Christ. 
Then we will no longer be immature like children. We won't be tossed and blown about by every wind of new teaching. We will not be influenced when people try to trick us with lies so clever they sound like the truth. Instead, we will speak the truth in love, growing in every way more and more like Christ, who is the head of his body, the church. - Ephesians 4:11-15 NLT

Seek Out a Discipleship Relationship

If you find someone who will take the time to walk with you in a discipleship relationship, don't let them get away.

Is it true that it is the Holy Spirit that will teach us everything? Yep! He is the true teacher and here is the first lesson... the Holy Spirit will do this teaching through the many tools he has created. One of those tools is the 'gift' of mature Christians in the body of Christ (Now these are the gifts Christ gave to the church: the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, and the pastors and teachers).

Can we get a word from the Spirit through reading, studying and meditating on His word? Yes. Will the Holy Spirit give us the words we need when we are under duress? You can count on it!

Are those the only tools available to the Spirit? Nope! He uses His people to bring the Word to the world and to those who are in Christ.

So we tell others about Christ, warning everyone and teaching everyone with all the wisdom God has given us. We want to present them to God, perfect in their relationship to Christ. That's why I work and struggle so hard, depending on Christ's mighty power that works within me. - Colossians 1:28-29 NLT

Seek out someone to share in this crucial relationship. Things will change in ways you cannot imagine. You'll begin to understand God's plan.You'll find your ministry. You'll discover your purpose. When you fall, you'll get right back up. You'll be ready to begin discipling.

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Take Action!

How do I find someone to disciple me? 
Start right in your church body. Connect with your church leadership and ask them if they can connect you with someone in a discipleship relationship. Be patient but be persistent. 
Pray about the discipleship the Lord wants for you. Ask Him to send a man/woman of God your way.  
In The Cool Zone is designed for discipling followers of Christ. Send us a note and we'll get started right away. You'll get real answers to your questions and build a great relationship with a brother/sister in the Lord. 
Here are few resources to help develop your strategy:

Please, add your thoughts in the comment section.

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Concept

“Discipleship is Your Next Step.”




In The Cool Zone concept. Think like Jesus thinks. Deliver the Gospel. Teach what you have learned.

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