Today, this week’s theme of “essentials of disciple making” continues with part two of three from a chapter in the book Live Sent on disciple making. Thought it might be helpful as we pray for the Lord to sharpen us as parents to make disciples who make disciples as SENT kids. Hope it encourages you!
The second essential I would suggest for making disciples is discernment. Unfortunately, this element of discipling is often left out within programmed discipleship. Discerning where someone is spiritually and where someone is going in life is not required in programmed discipleship. You can simply plug someone into the linear process. Problem is, what results is a stifled disciple, which is actually an oxymoron.
Let me explain. As followers of Jesus, we have the Holy Spirit residing within us. Jesus spoke of the many ways having the Holy Spirit matters in the daily life of a follower as recorded in John 14 to 16. Paul follows that with some pretty insightful teaching in 1 Corinthians and Ephesians. John also elaborates on it in 1 John 5. Among the many aspects of what the Spirit does in and through us is discernment.
As we engage people in relationship, we need to do more than think, “What are the five steps I must take this person through so they will now be a disciple?” Maybe a better approach would be to pray something like this:
Holy Spirit, please give me discernment into the heart and life of my new friend. Give me Your wisdom and insight so that I may know how to love them right where they are and encourage them for where You want them to go as we walk on this mutual journey with You.
What if we prayed that? Don’t you think the Spirit would grant us discernment? Then, we would be pulled into an amazing adventure of learning the ways of Jesus and living out those ways alongside someone into whose life we are speaking encouragement and direction as the Holy Spirit leads us. If we would listen as the Spirit provides this discernment, we would be able to determine where on the journey a person is rather than pigeonholing them or trying to take them through a step-by-step process.
This is important. Think about it. If we discount where someone has been in their lives, we will miss out on ways God has already been at work in a person’s life before we ever met them.
Jesus took this seriously. With Peter, Matthew, Mary, Nicodemus, the woman at the well. We must take it seriously too. It is important for us to realize that discipleship is not a program that begins after someone begins to follow Jesus. It is a process that even begins before conversion.
You can’t argue with that principle either, because a cursory reading of the four Gospels makes it plain. Jesus invited 12 guys into relationship and entered into a journey with them that God the Father had already been walking on with them. In other words, He had already been at work. He was there through the tragedy and victories of their lives previous to their encounter with Jesus. Now, Jesus was going to complete the work that had been begun and continue it toward more and more completion—the discipling process that never ends. . . .
FRIDAY _ part three of three on the essentials of disciple making, even at home.