Practical Discipleship – Part 2
As we grow and mature as Christ’s disciples individually, His Word is very clear that we are also to be growing and maturing in our relationships with other believers. Here are three more spiritual disciplines (See Practical Discipleship – Part 1) that help us grow in relationship with other Christ followers, together as His disciples:
1) Worship – God alone is worthy of our personal and corporate worship and praise: “You shall have no other gods before me. You shall not make for yourself an image in the form of anything in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the waters below. You shall not bow down to them or worship them; for I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God, punishing the children for the sin of the parents to the third and fourth generation of those who hate me,but showing love to a thousand generations of those who love me and keep my commandments. You shall not misuse the name of the Lord your God, for the Lord will not hold anyone guiltless who misuses his name.” Exodus 20:3-7; “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength.” Deuteronomy 6:5; “Jesus answered, ‘It is written: ‘Worship the Lord your God and serve him only.’” Luke 4:8; “God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in the Spirit and in truth.” John 4:24
2) Giving/Serving – “Remember this: Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously. Each of you should give what you have decided in your heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. And God is able to bless you abundantly, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work.” 2 Corinthians 9:6-8
As we grow and mature, both personally and relationally, as Christ’s disciples by the power of His Holy Spirit in the disciplines of His Word and Spirit, we become more like Christ. In doing so the ultimate expression is that the world sees His Truth and love in our individual lives and together as His Body, The Church. If they are not seeing it in us, personally and collectively, then we need to take inventory as to whether or not we are walking as His disciples. All of the aforementioned disciplines come together in the building up and fellowship of Christ’s Church.
3) Fellowship/Relationship/Church –“They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer.” Acts 2:42;“And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching.” Hebrews 10:24-25 Discipleship in relationships builds our faithful testimony which spills over into reaching a lost and hurting world with His message in fulfilling the Great Commission, “And Jesus came up and spoke to them, saying, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit,teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Matthew 28:18-2
Without discipline there are no disciples and no discipleship! Without The Holy Spirit we have no spiritual discipline!
I feel so strongly about this that I’m going to repeat what I stated last week in part 1 of Practical Discipleship. These are not suggestions or recommendations. These are commands that need to be kept for all those who have counted the cost and desire to walk as Christ’s disciples and with Him as Lord.
Don’t forget that maturity requires discipline and discipline requires manageability and commitment. For those who have never practiced them at all and/or struggled to maintain these disciplines or even tried to do them all at once and burned out, remember the simple formula below. Adjust the time to work for you. I promise you, if you will do this, God will honor it, and your time with and growth in Him and His Word will be greatly rewarded.
BEGIN WITH 5 MINUTES EVERY DAY AND DON’T MISS ONE DAY!
Now that you’ve gotten the key to walking in the spiritual disciplines of His Word, the next step is for you to begin praying about and discipling or helping others do the same thing—Not only the practical steps but also a deeper dive into His Word that will help you and others grow as His disciple.
This is what they looked like for me. As I began to spend time with Him, in His Word and prayer and applying these disciplines, I was compelled more and more to encourage others. Interestingly, it seemed that there were more folks that were seeking me out as well for spiritual guidance. Early on in this process, for some reason the number 10 kept coming to my mind. I dismissed it for a while but over time it persisted and I began to pray about it.
As I prayed I sensed that the Lord was giving me that number and it was to remind me that I needed to be discipling others but I needed to do so in such a way so as not to spread myself too thin or pridefully take on too many.
So as I began discipling I kept this in mind and began to form the boundaries that helped me be able to best pour into others. I would not disciple in any one season more than 10 men. This began when I was still single so I only discipled other men.
When Ami and I married I continued but I reduced the number to eight and I counted a couple as one (as that is how they are defined in God’s Word). God rewarded this by keeping between four and eight men or couples without it ever being too burdensome on me and especially on our marriage.
I did the same by reducing the number by one as each of our children were born and kept it there until they left for college. The principle here is that my wife and children, according to God’s Word, take priority as those I’m discipling. As my children left for college I added spots back until I reached 10.
God honored this as I have honored Him in keeping my priorities in line with His Word. Ten was my number and it may be more or less for you, but remember the priorities and principles of keeping your marriage, spouse, and family first.
“Paul’s idea of service is the same as Our Lord’s: ‘I am among you as He that serveth’; ‘ourselves your servants for Jesus’ sake…’ The mainspring of Paul’s service is not love for men, but love for Jesus Christ. If we are devoted to the cause of humanity, we shall soon be crushed and broken-hearted, for we shall often meet with more ingratitude from men than we would from a dog; but if our motive is love to God, no ingratitude can hinder us from serving our fellow men… – no matter how men may treat me, they will never treat me with the spite and hatred with which I treated Jesus Christ. When we realize that Jesus Christ has served us to the end of our meanness, our selfishness, and sin, nothing that we meet with from others can exhaust our determination to serve men for His sake.” Oswald Chambers, My Utmost for His Highest
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Make it a great day and God bless in Christ!
Love and Lordship…Food for Thought – Have you ever thought of discipleship in terms of relational and communal? Have you ever thought of relationships and fellowship as requiring discipline? How might these teachings help you commit to and invest in a local body of Christ followers? Choose to be His disciple and join with others who are doing the same.
Love and Lordship…Action Item(s) – Put together a daily plan of personal discipleship and worship to prepare you for corporate study and worship with others. Prepare a budget committing a certain percentage of giving financially to your local church (give it right off the top as a matter of faith). If you already do these ask The Lord to take you deeper and challenge you to do more in your church and other Biblically based ministries. Find one person to disciple you in your walk with The Lord. In time, as The Spirit leads, begin to build relationships in which you are discipling at least one person…if married begin with your wife and children.