“So, being affectionately desirous of you, we were ready to share with you not only the gospel of God but also our own selves, because you had become very dear to us.” — 1 Thessalonians 2:8
The message of Jesus was never intended to be safe. When the gospel message takes root in your life, it is nothing short of revolutionary. It’s not a helpful add-on to your already busy life. No, the message of Jesus changes everything.
As soon as you take the step and trust God with your whole heart, you will discover that saying yes to being a disciple on the one hand and living out the call of discipleship on the other are two very different things.
Scripture tells us to fix our eyes on Jesus (Hebrews 12:2) and to follow in his steps (1 Peter 2:21), but even with the account of his life in Scripture and the guidance of the Holy Spirit, every disciple of Jesus longs for something else. We want to see discipleship lived out and practiced in our context. We want to walk with someone, observe how the person lives, and learn from what we see.
How did Jesus take the gospel message from the dusty streets of Galilee to a worldwide movement? He didn’t leverage the power of social media. He didn’t find high-capacity investors to launch a global brand. In fact, the New Testament accounts of Jesus are painfully thin on training materials. He left his disciples with very few overt systems to implement. Why? Because he understood something about spiritual revolution that we tend to forget quickly: it doesn’t fly on the back of programs—it’s carried in the soul of people. This is the central core of Jesus’s plan to change the world. Changed people change people.
In his letter to the church in Philippi, the apostle Paul encouraged the leaders of the church with these words: “What you have learned and received and heard and seen in me—practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you” (Philippians 4:9).
Notice how many things Paul listed. He didn’t say, “Listen, church, just take my letters and do what they say.” Paul knew that that was not the strategy of Jesus. Instead, real discipleship happens through flesh-and-blood training. He told them to remember what he had taught them but also to remember what they had seen and heard from him. Everything about his life was a lesson in following Jesus.
The tragedy of postmodern Christianity is that far too often we are busy with Bible studies, church activities, and community service, but we neglect the intentional process of discipleship. We often do this because we don’t have a clear road map to make disciples.
What if you began to walk alongside a younger Christian, teaching him or her the first habit of relationship with God? After some growth, what if you then guided that person through the second habit? Brick by brick, the person you’re walking with would begin to grow. And your spiritual growth would also rapidly accelerate as you passed on what you’ve learned. What if you started a small group that focused on deeply, intentionally applying these habits?
This brings us to our seventh and final habit.
Habit 7: Build an intentional circle of discipleship.
“So, being affectionately desirous of you, we were ready to share with you not only the gospel of God but also our own selves, because you had become very dear to us” (1 Thessalonians 2:8). This is my favorite part of the entire passage. It’s so honest and compelling. Paul told his disciples that his commitment to them went far beyond communicating a message. His commitment was dangerous. He was risking his heart because he had given his disciples his very self.
You simply can’t make disciples without putting your heart on the line, because discipleship is not just passing along helpful lessons. In order to effectively make disciples, you have to let yourself care, which means becoming vulnerable.
Paul told us that there is no joy quite like the joy of seeing someone you’ve invested in really grow. Making disciples is an invitation into a whole different level of living, because your highest joy in life is found in the growth of another.
Have you been missing out on the joy of discipleship? Have you been living an individualistic Christianity, where no one has access to your interior life? Now is the time for change. Now is the time to find one other person and begin an intentional process of spiritual growth.
Jesus, use me to make disciples. I want to effectively lead others in their spiritual growth. I want to be someone worth following. Today, I commit to the process. Take me to the next level.
To learn more about the Bury Your Ordinary book or to purchase a copy please visit: https://www.buryyourordinary.com/