“Arrested development”. This prison contains our spiritual lives and stifles our usefulness to God. Most of us squander our lives in this stagnant condition, rather than facing the uncomfortable thought of growth and challenge. Our laziness hurts the mission.
Jesus promises to make us “fishers of men.” He wants us to be about the business of disciple-making. Yet Paul’s later admonition to the Hebrews resonates in us: “In fact, though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you the elementary truths of God’s word all over again. You need milk, not solid food” (Hebrews 5:12).
In order to effectively disciple others, we first must disciple ourselves. Do we pray? Are we connected to the true vine? Do we meditate on the truths of the scriptures? Are we walking through life with a few friends who encourage, challenge, rebuke and love us?
Discipleship, you see, is much about the art of imitation. The scores of younger men and women around us are looking for something true, authentic and attractive. They imitate it. Then they embrace it. Soon you have a disciple.
At 18 months old, my son Jeremy was already perfecting the art of imitation. One day, as my wife and I drove down the road, another car cut in front of us. “You jerk!” came the rebuke from the car seat in the back. Ouch. I guess he had heard that reaction a few too many times.
When Jesus said that the fields were white for the harvest, he was right (Matthew 9:37). He still is today. There is no shortage of people who want to learn about life. The harvest doesn’t lack. The harvesting crew does. So Jesus urges us to pray for laborers.
I am part of a team that works with young people. The walk-in business alone is staggering. We need laborers. We need people who are able to teach. We need people who themselves are mature enough to pass along Jesus’ principles to faithful men and women.
Will you make disciples? If so, you must first be a disciple. Few things will cause more growth. You see, teaching others is the best way for us to learn.
Are you digesting spiritual milk or meat?
Are you capable of teaching from the scriptures?
Are you willing to invest in others through discipleship?
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