what is the most important element of discipling?

On Sunday mornings right now, until Feb 8th, we are unpacking what it means to “be discipling.” We introduced the series on January 4th by defining “discipling” simply as this:

_learning the ways of Jesus and living those ways allowing others to taste and see Jesus and begin to follow Him, learning His ways and living His ways allowing others to taste and see Jesus and begin to follow Him, and so on…

It is more about life together than a class together. More about compassion given than concepts learned. More about Jesus actually being followed than more Jesus stuff flowing into my head. Not that learning is not apart of it, but it is definitely not the end of it.

And as we live His ways, as we follow Him, we will know Him more, because we will be where He is, loving people where He loves them, like He loves Him. And our life will be abundant as we abide in Him. 

The focus of Christianity for too long has been more like a bad self-help book that nullifies grace in an attempt to feel better about myself spiritually based solely on performance and check-list measurements. I would suggest that if the focus of your following Jesus isn’t more about how you plant and water into other people than it is about what gets planted and watered into you, then you may not be following Jesus.

Instead, you may have gotten proselytized into a really bad Christian-version of those self-help infomercials that come on late at night and suck you in and that you discover while flipping through the channels hoping to catch the next showing of that sequel of Lethal Weapon where they blow up the big building in the beginning of the movie (cause that was the best one – that was an actual implosion of the old courthouse building here in Orlando). You know the infomercials I am talking about. For three installments of $39.95, you too can be a great person, like the guy who has figured out how to get really wealthy by selling you something that theoretically will make you a better person. What a country!!!

All this to say – that’s how we have treated Christianity for too long. Self-help instead of “I’ll help.” I’ll give. I’ll follow. My life will not be my own to make better, but maybe my life can be given to make others better. Or better said, what they were made to be.

Discipling is not only a fundamental of following Jesus, it is an evidence of following Jesus. It is not reserved for the people who have certificates ad degrees. It is for everyone who follows Jesus, in whom the Holy Spirit resides, and through whom the redemptive story continues to be written. 

And that Holy Spirit thing. Listening to and responding to Him. Staying in constant communication with Him. That’s probably the most important element of discipling. PRAYER.

Check this out:

So, as you go, as you follow Jesus daily, be discipling. And don’t stop praying. Why? Because I not only need to be lifting up the people in my daily life who are hurting and searching and seeking all that Jesus died to give us, but also I need to be tuning in to what God may be doing in their lives and how He may want to use me to love them where they are like He does. That’s the significance of prayer. Discernment and involvement and my life shifting to be about what Jesus is already up to. In fact, I have really been challenged lately to consider these two questions:

  • Who in your world has not been exposed to the life changing love of Jesus? 
  • How often do you pray for these persons? 

Wow. Thanks to Bob Carlton and Jim Collins for those challenges. Let me know your thoughts…

2 thoughts on “what is the most important element of discipling?

  1. Thanks for putting down your thoughts. I appreciate this statement you made “I would suggest that if the focus of your following Jesus isn’t more about how you plant and water into other people than it is about what gets planted and watered into you, then you may not be following Jesus.”
    Neil Cole says that we have taught people to be consumers rather than workers for the harvest. May God give us a Spirit of wisdom and revelation, so that we will know Him better (Eph. 1:17).

  2. Pingback: the discipling continuum « as i live sent daily

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