We are supposed to make disciples.
If we fail at this point, we fail at everything else as well.
Jesus made our mission pretty clear when he said, “Go and make disciples.”
The question is how?
How do we make disciples? How do we move from just agreeing with each other that making disciples is important to being the kind of people who are making disciples?
What I began trying to do in previous posts was give you a basic process to follow.
I am trying to draw together principles from all kinds of different Scriptures so that you can have a clear idea at least of where you can start if you are going to obey Jesus and help others grow in their relationship with Him.
How do I disciple others?
1. Follow Jesus
2. Pursue People
3. Ask Questions
4. Process Information
In other words, we are stopping to think.
And we have to do this, we have to think, because we are going after people intentionally, not just to hang out with them, though that is part of it, we enjoy that, but we are wanting to help them actually change, and helping someone change is going to require mental effort on your part.
Because people are complicated. And life is confusing. And helping someone apply the Bible to their actual life isn’t always simple.
It is funny, I think most of us, we would know that if someone asked us to teach a class, we would have to prepare. I mean, just to preach this sermon, usually takes me about two, two and a half days of preparation. There’s a lot of thought that goes into it. But when it comes to teaching others in terms of discipleship, we sometimes act as if we can somehow know what to say and know how to help them change, without thinking about them and that’s really crazy.
It is not only crazy, it is unbiblical. After all, Hebrews 10:24 exhorts us to think,
“And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works…”
Consider means think. What this verse means is I have to think about how to get you stirred up to love God, to love others, and to do what’s right and good.
It should be normal then for us to spend time thinking about how to help others grow.
It should be normal for us to be taking the Bible to a person’s life and problems, and asking what does God say about who this person is, what they are going through, and how they need to change?
That’s considering, and that’s where a lot of the actual discipleship starts taking off, and we are going to spend some time on this component of the discipleship process, thinking about thinking, and so let me try to explain why I am convinced doing this work of thinking is so important.
And I’ll do that from another passage in Hebrews, and that is Hebrews 3.
Hebrews 3:13 and 14.
The writer says there, “Take care, brothers, lest there be in any of you an evil, unbelieving heart, leading you to fall away from the living God. But exhort one another every day, as long as it is still called ‘today’, that none of you may be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin.”
Now, look at that. What does that passage say sin does? It says sin deceives and hardens hearts. And how, according to these verses, do you keep from being fooled by the deceptiveness of sin? It’s through interpersonal relationships. Exhort one another that none of you be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin.
This is God’s plan. Sin is really good at deceiving us. And because sin is so good at deceiving and hardening our hearts, we need other believers who will love us enough to exhort us, and what that means is to show us our own lives from God’s perspective.
That’s what we are trying to do in discipleship, really. We are trying to show people their lives from God’s perspective. We are trying to get to know a person as they really are and to get to know their life as it really is so we can come alongside of them in order to help them see themselves and their lives from a biblical perspective, so that they can avoid being fooled by the deceitfulness of their sin and as a result, actually change and become the person God wants them to be.
Maybe to say it another way. You know why a lot of us aren’t changing? It’s because sin has us fooled. We are deceived. We have an inaccurate perception of ourselves.
I remember when Marda and I first got married, she is a good cook and I ate and I ate and I ate, and I didn’t have any idea of how much I was gaining until I saw a picture of myself and wow, for some reason, I had no idea that I had gotten that heavy until I had that proof there in front of me, and in the same spiritually, we often don’t have an accurate perception of ourselves until someone comes along and helps us see ourselves as we really are, and it’s not until they do show us who we are, that we able to actually do something about it.
That’s why this is a key component of what you want to be doing in your discipleship of others, processing information biblically, thinking, trying to gain a biblically accurate perception of who they are and what’s going on and how they need to grow. Now to try to get particular here, because you might say, o.k., I get the principle, I am supposed to be thinking, but what exactly is it that I am supposed to be thinking about?
As you sit down and you start considering what you have learned about the person you are wanting to disciple, there are at three main things you need be to going back to the Bible and processing that information you have received and thinking through.
1.) What does the Bible say about who this person is?
2.) What does the Bible say about what this person’s struggling with?
3.) What does the Bible say about how this person needs to change?
In the next post, we’ll look at the importance of the first question and exactly what we mean by thinking about who the person is biblically.