Friday, August 15, 2014

Disciples will ...

Something my pastor said to me a month or so ago has infused itself permanently into my spiritual consciousness, which is rare considering how poor my memory is. I had in mind two ideas for ministries in our church that I wanted to build. One is a discipleship framework by which those who want to be discipled and those who want to disciple can be easily connected with one another. The second is an upgrade to the methodology of our current Involvement ministry. The Involvement ministry is responsible for teaching people the purpose of spiritual gifts, helping them to discover what those gifts are in themselves, and connecting them with service opportunities. Considering where we are as a church right now (a long story not for public consumption), he felt that it wasn't the right time to begin a brand new ministry. But seeing that I was approaching these two ideas as separate entities, he said three words to me that I believe have permanently altered my understanding of how best to teach, train, and exhort those around me to greater Christ-likeness:

Disciples will serve.

It is simple and yet profound, and I believe in that moment God was speaking through him to me. The point I believe he was making is this: Serving is a natural outgrowth of being a disciple, but it does not make one a disciple of Jesus. You can serve without truly following Jesus in your heart and your mind, but if you do truly follow Jesus, you will serve.

Of course, this got me to thinking, what else will a disciple do? The following is a list of what comes to mind, in no particular order:

Disciples will love. (John 13:35)
Disciples will give. (2 Corinthians 9:7)
Disciples will learn. (2 Timothy 3:14-17)
Disciples will teach. (2 Timothy 2:24-25)
Disciples will serve. (1 Peter 4:10)
Disciples will obey. (1 John 5:3)

I will be writing on each of these in the coming days and weeks. If I think of more, I will add them here as well.

For now, I do want to reiterate this point. It is possible to put on an outward approximation of each of these qualities and still not be one who is following Jesus. As you read through these, if you don't see one or more of these qualities in your life, pray and ask God to change your heart and mind to want to follow Jesus in that area. If your inward desire does not match your outward conformity, you will likely become discouraged and miserable very quickly. The goal is not to simply conform outwardly but to be transformed inwardly. If you truly submit yourself to Jesus in your heart and your mind, external conformity to His teachings will naturally follow and will be a joy, not a burden.

Do not be conformed to this age,
but be transformed by the renewing of your mind,
so that you may discern
what is the good, pleasing, and perfect will of God.
Romans 12:2