Learning to make disciples from the apostle Paul, part 4

I want to disciple someone, where do I start?

If you are asking that question, good!

Discipling others requires desire. It’s going to be rewarding, but it’s going to be difficult, so you have to want to disciple, and if you are wanting to disciple, great!

But what next?

Those of us who are doers might think we need a good discipleship program first. What’s the plan?

Slow down.

While some structured guidance might be helpful, (will be helpful!) genuine discipleship doesn’t start with a three step program. It begins with a holy individual who is passionately following after Christ. Are you on fire?

You can have a great plan but that plan won’t make much of a difference if you don’t have a person who loves Jesus and loves others.

That’s me, you say. Or at least, I want it to be me. What now?

Pray.

If you want to make an impact on others start by going to God in prayer.

God uses people who depend on Him.

Listen to Paul.

He’s talking to the Thessalonians.

They had been changed.

But how did Paul think it happened?

“We give thanks to God always for all of you . . . remembering before our God and Father your work of faith and labor of love and steadfastness of hope.” (1 Thessalonians 1:2)

When you give thanks to someone for something, you are giving them credit for whatever you are thanking them about.

Paul looks at the astounding results in the Thessalonians lives. How did it happen? He doesn’t think it happened because of his skill. He’s convinced they were transformed because of God’s work in their lives.

And that’s why he continued to labor for the Thessalonians good in prayer.

God did this. Let’s ask Him to do some more.

This is important.

Because sometimes people will say they are afraid to get involved in helping other people change because they are not really all that educated or important or whatever, but you know, that’s missing the point. Everything good you want to do as a discipler is impossible for you, regardless of your education or background. Ultimately the results you want in discipleship don’t come from your own abilities but from God’s work in a person’s life. And so, the place we need to start, if we want to disciple others is not first by finding a great program to use, but by getting down on our knees and crying out to God for the spiritual good of other people in our lives.

Do you believe that God is the one changes people?

Do you believe God can change people?

If you don’t, you need to get that right before you even think about starting to disciple others and if you do, then it should show up in your prayer life.

Talk to Him about it!

You can start by making a list of some of the people in your family, some of the people you see every day, some of the people in your small group at church and then cry out to God on their behalf, over and over again. If you don’t know what to pray for, look at Paul’s prayers, and walk through some of the things he prayed for. You can get together with your spouse and just start thanking God and praying for people in your life regularly, or get together with someone else from the church and depend on God together.

Discipleship starts happening as God’s people start depending.

Can you imagine the long term extraordinary life transformation we will see in our local churches as ordinary believers consistently get down on their knees and pray for the spiritual good of others?

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