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Lately God’s been breaking down a few misconceptions I’ve had about discipleship.
1. I am more spiritually mature, in every way, than the woman I disciple.
When I start to think I am more spiritually mature than another Christian across the board, it’s often because I prize the gifts I have above the gifts my sister has. I am slow to see that the hand is just as valuable as the foot. No one gift is the litmus test for everyone’s spiritual maturity.
Ultimately we are disciples of Christ. We are his students. We are learning to be like him. So when we disciple someone, we encourage her to imitate us as we imitate Christ. And we need to look for the ways she imitates Christ better than we do. We all have different gifts and a different part to play in the Great Story. We shouldn’t expect the person we disciple to look more and more like us. She should reflect Christ in her own unique way, using her own giftedness to serve the Church and bring glory to Christ.
What has God revealed to this sister I am discipling that I have not yet known so fully?
2. Discipleship happens best over a cup of coffee.
We need people to spur us on, to encourage us, to challenge us, and to correct us. Sometimes sitting across from one another over a cup of coffee is the best way to do that. But that’s not the full picture of discipleship.
We need to learn life together, not just the moments of luxury when we can step away from life and process it with a friend. Otherwise we will begin to equate spiritual growth with the times we get a break from life’s sufferings, sins, and responsibilities and be more concerned with the moments of refreshment than the way God wants to transform us within our daily circumstances.
Do I see the way God is using the circumstances of our lives to make us more like him or do I limit our growth to the times we can step away?
3. The goal is for the disciple to learn the spiritual disciplines (Bible study, prayer, etc.) well enough to teach these disciplines to someone else.
Our goal is infinitely better than knowing how to use these God ordained tools well. It is to know him. It is to be like him.
Jesus rebuked the Pharisees, the people who prayed faithfully, the ones who knew the Scripture better than anyone else: “You search the Scriptures because you think that in them you have eternal life; and it is they that bear witness about me, yet you refuse to come to me that you may have life.”~ John 5:39-40
Do I spend more time teaching someone the tools to study and pray or do I spur her on to actually become more like Christ?
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